The care and support provided by relatives is hugely important for healthcare in Switzerland. In private households in particular, long-term care of the elderly could not be sustained, for financial, personal and structural reasons, without the commitment of relatives providing care. However, the potential service provided by these relatives is set within an area of conflict involving social and family changes and, at the same time, a scarcity of staff in health and care services. For this reason, it is not only important to take measures to retain existing staff: innovative approaches are also required, particularly to mitigate the staffing problem in domestic care services whilst ensuring quality of care.


The “work & care integra” preliminary project is based on findings from the “work & care” research and development programme. Its main objective is to develop, trial and establish two complementary approaches:

  • Firstly, this involves an investigation into the terms within which Spitex can manage to employ relatives providing care. In some cantons and local Spitex organisations, these commitments have already been in place for a number of years. These employment relationships are being explored to ascertain their current feasibility as well as being reviewed with regard to their improvement potential. As well as legal and organisational matters, matters pertaining to ethics in connection with care provided by relatives are also evaluated.
  • Secondly, a review is conducted to assess how relatives providing care can improve their educational profile through training and continuing development within the context of their employment and thus increase their skills in supporting people needing care. In this respect, ensuring training and continuing development for relatives providing care, be it for basic vocational training in healthcare or for individually tailored educational objectives, is a completely new approach.

The “work & care integra” preliminary project simultaneously addresses a number of challenges in Swiss healthcare and society. The sub projects are substantiated in a pilot project and suitable partners are also sought.

An initial sub project is the investigation entitled “Employing and upskilling relatives providing care: An innovative employment model in Spitex”. The first step is to go through the project documentation kept by Spitex Region Köniz, which has already employed relatives providing care for some years. Based on this, the second step is to conduct interviews with experts and Spitex managers who appoint these relatives. In contrast to this, one or two interviews are also conducted with managers who deliberately do not appoint relatives. The final step is to analyse interview findings and put together a summary of these in a publication. The project is sponsored by an innovation grant from the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) gefördert.

Project team

Prof. Dr. Iren Bischofberger, Careum Research
Christine Rex, MScN, Programme Director MAS in Care Management, Kalaidos UAS, Health and Care Expert APN RegioSpitex Limmattal


Leu, A., & Bischofberger, I. (2013). Pflegende Angehörige als Angestellte in der Spitex: Eine Annäherung aus rechtlicher, qualifikatorischer und konzeptioneller Perspektive. Pflegerecht, 1 (4), 210-218. PDF

Leu, A. (2014). Angehörige als Angestellte der Spitex. Spitex Magazin, 1 (4), 22–23. PDF

Rex, C., & Bischofberger, I. (2014). Erfahrung und Know-how nutzen: Anstellung pflegender Angehöriger bei der Spitex. Krankenpflege – Soins infirmiers, 107 (2), 14-17. PDF

Fuhrer, S. (2013). Betriebshaftpflicht für pflegende Angehörige. Pflegerecht, 2 (2), 125. PDF

Facebook Twitter Xing LinkedIn Whatsapp E-Mail