This study aimed to explore the use of a contemporary workplace stress model, the Job Demands-Resources model, with direct-care workers using a qualitative approach. The JD-R model has successfully been used to predict health outcomes across different occupations using quantitative methods. However, the use of the generic questionnaire developed for this model may not always be appropriate. Direct-care workers (n = 19) attended two focus groups and reported on their job demands, job resources and personal resources. Six themes relating to demands across the two groups: funding insecurity, time pressure, hindrance demands, poor systems, emotional engagement and dealing with client crises were identified. Participants identified clinical supervision, social support and progressive workplace resources as job resources. Finally, the personal resources identified by participants were professional behaviours, disposition and self-care. The JD-R model and its standard questionnaire captures some of these aspects of direct-care work, but many were not assessed. As such, future investigations with direct-care workers should ensure items related to poor systems, progressive workplace resources, disposition and professional behaviours are included. Alternatively, a qualitative approach should be used as a first step in the development of valid questionnaires when investigating workplace stress with this group to ensure their experience is accurately quantified.