Assisted living and long-term care facilities require a lot of energy and dedication from their staff. Whether workers take care of an elderly, ill, or disabled patient, being a caregiver is hard. Providing care and support can be very demanding and may lead to workers feeling depleted.
Caregiver strain and burnout are major concerns for care facilities. Taking precautions to minimize burnout is important for the well-being of everyone involved in the facility.
When management understands what signs to look out for and what proactive measures to take, facilities can offer help for caregiver burnout and minimize the negative impact on staff and patients alike.
Caregiver burnout, sometimes called caregiver fatigue syndrome, refers to the physical and emotional exhaustion of people who provide support for long-term care patients. Caregivers may develop feelings of resentment or weariness towards their work. In fact, 36% of caregivers identify their role as highly stressful.
Long-term involvement in the emotionally demanding situations that come with caregiving can wear down the staff's abilities. Between caring for patients, supporting colleagues, and taking care of themselves, they can become exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally. Because caregiving is easily overwhelming, this may interfere with the caretaker's overall happiness and quality of life.
Having the responsibility of providing support for patients with severe health conditions and disabilities is demanding and can contribute to serious exhaustion that interferes with a caregiver's ability to do their job and care for themselves effectively. The following are common causes of caregiver burnout:
While caregiving can be extremely rewarding, many factors can lead to overwhelm and high stress levels. If caregivers do not address their physical and emotional exhaustion, this can further develop and have serious repercussions. The following are the stages of caregiver burnout:
Caregiver stress can stem from multiple things, from frustration to sadness. It can be very challenging for a caregiver to accept that the quality of the care they provide may not have much to do with the well-being of the person they are caring for.
Stress can develop from having so many responsibilities and feeling like the contributions are not enough for the patient. In some cases, the patient's attitude can affect the caregiver if they feel they are not receiving gratitude or appreciation from the people they care for.
Feeling overwhelmed by caregiving responsibilities can lead to neglecting one's own physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If left unaddressed by the caretaker, this stress can easily become burnout.
Caregiver burnout is the result of prolonged stress from caring for another person. Burnout can hinder a caretaker's sense of purpose and make them feel under-appreciated and overworked.
When a person feels depleted and drained from long periods of high stress, their motivation to provide great care can quickly diminish. They are less likely to take proper care of themselves and their mental health. If not addressed, burnout can lead to something called compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue is more severe than caregiver burnout. When a person experiences prolonged periods of strain and exposure to trauma, this can lead to fatigue harmful enough to change a person's worldviews.
When comparing caregiver burnout versus compassion fatigue, the most notable difference is the lack of empathy for the people who receive the care. When a caretaker stays burned out for long periods, this can result in a state of tension and despair.
Being exposed to another's traumas and stress while experiencing burnout can lead to a complete lack of compassion for those who need their assistance and support. It can have very harmful effects on the people enduring it, including demoralization and disconnectedness.
Long-term care facilities should ask themselves what are some of the symptoms of caregiver burnout to help staff members avoid reaching compassion fatigue at all costs.
It is important to understand the warning signs of caregiver burnout to prevent staff members from experiencing prolonged periods of physical and emotional exhaustion. This allows patients and employees to have the best caregiving experience possible.
The following are common symptoms of caregiver burnout:
Caregiver burnout affects more than just the person experiencing it. When staff members feel depleted and overworked, both the patients receiving care and the health facility suffer as well.
Patients relying on caregivers can feel as though they are a burden when staff members suffer from burnout. They also experience a decline in the quality of care they receive when their caretaker is experiencing long-term periods of stress and exhaustion.
Assisted living facilities can experience problems with staff turnover and absenteeism due to employee burnout. Beyond the mental and physical health concerns of caretakers, burnout impacts nearly everyone who comes into contact with the suffering person.
If your facility management is wondering what to do about caregiver burnout, consider the following tips:
Even if your facility's staff is already experiencing exhaustion or excessive stress, there is hope for caregiver burnout recovery. Encourage your employees to complete the following steps to help address and resolve burnout at your assisted living or long-term care facility:
Urge staff members to ask for help when they need it. Whether it is a daily task they could use some extra assistance with or need a coworker to help with specific ongoing duties, creating a safe space for them to ask for help is necessary for recovering from caregiver burnout.
For caregivers, many factors can contribute to high stress. To effectively combat and recover from burnout, identify the underlying problem negatively impacting the caregiver. Whether it is the emotionally taxing part of caring for another person or tiredness from long hours, finding the root of the problem is the only way to fully recover from burnout and reduce stress.
When caregivers are feeling overworked, they must get the support they need. Staff members should have access to support groups and resources when they experience the negative side of caretaking. Facilities should encourage employees to talk to other caretakers to share valuable lessons and reduce feelings of stress and loneliness.
Allow employees to take regular breaks throughout their workday for collecting their thoughts and resetting their mindset as needed. If a caretaker is experiencing severe burnout, allow them to take family leave to preserve their mental and physical health.
Caregivers can benefit from socialization outside of work. Encourage staff members to switch up their daily and weekly routines from time to time. Hosting fun events can allow your team to let loose and enjoy a break from their demanding schedule.
An important part of recovering from caregiver burnout is prioritizing self-care. Workers should make an effort to stay up-to-date with their personal wellness. Urge employees to take care of their physical and mental health by doing things like going to therapy or picking up a new hobby.
Caregivers understand the importance of good health. Encourage everyone in your facility to focus on their health by doing the following:
Antiquated technology lacks the power of automation that can make a caregiver's life much easier.
When you automate administrative tasks with the support of workforce management software, caregivers can spend less time worrying about managerial work and more time focusing on the people they care for. With less on their plate, caretakers are less likely to experience burnout.
For assisted living and long-term care facilities, it is important for management to create an environment where employees feel supported and encouraged to strike a healthy work-life balance. Employers can help support their team by providing effective training, flexible schedules, and sharing community resources.
A balanced workforce has the following advantages:
Caregiver stress and burnout are serious problems for assisted living and long-term care facilities. Beyond negatively impacting the caregivers themselves, facilities and the patients within them also suffer.
SmartLinx reduces caregiver stress and helps staff achieve more by managing time, scheduling, tracking payroll, creating reports, and ensuring compliance. We have designed our solutions and services to optimize and streamline healthcare operations for the best management for your team of caregivers.
Interested in learning how SmartLinx software can help streamline workforce management for your healthcare facility? Request a free demo today!