RCAs’ Workplace Relationships

Exploring Residential Care Aides’ Workplace Relationships in Long-Term Care

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Heather Cooke, PhD


Dr. Jennifer Baumbusch, PhD, RN

Research Assistant:

Kaitlin Murray, BA


This research is supported with funds from the WorkSafeBC research program. Dr. Cooke’s post-doctoral fellowship is supported by the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

Study Purpose:

Quality person-centred care depends on respectful and collaborative relationships among RCAs; however, peer incivility and bullying can significantly disrupt such relationships. This study seeks to better understand residential care aides’ (RCAs) work relationships in long-term care, including peer workplace incivility and bullying, and how they influence care provision. Data collection includes observations of RCAs’ interactions with colleagues, supervisors and residents, and in-depth interviews with RCAs about their interactions. Other staff members (e.g., nurses, support staff, management), residents and families will also be interviewed about their perceptions of RCAs’ work relationships and their impact on care. Working in concert with our Community Advisory Committee (i.e., union and industry representatives), we will develop policy and practice recommendations for improving staff relationships that will, in turn, improve residents’ quality of care and quality of life. The study provides an important first step in understanding the nature and consequences of RCAs’ work relationships, including incivility and bullying, in care homes.

Data collection at the first study site was completed between Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. We are now in the process of collecting data at our second site. If you would like to learn more or participate in the study, please contact Dr. Heather Cooke at heather.smithcooke@ubc.ca

Dr. Heather Cooke giving a presentation

Dr. Heather Cooke presenting study findings at the SFU Knowledge Mobilization Symposium: Person-Centered Care for Older Adults with Dementia in BC and Hong Kong, SFU May 6-7, 2019

Selected Resources:

SafeCare BC Workplace Incivility Webinar and Resources: https://www.safecarebc.ca/civilitymatters/

Responding with Respect – Canadian Mental Health Association: https://vancouverfraser.cmha.bc.ca/programs-services/responding-with-respect/

National Standard of Canada Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace: https://www.csagroup.org/documents/codes-and-standards/publications/CAN_CSA-Z1003- 13_BNQ_9700-803_2013_EN.pdf