Self-care and staff burnout 

The aged care workforce has been under pressure for many years. Workforce redesign has already been identified as important in helping staff to thrive. While self-care is a personal strategy for workers, organisations have a role to play in preventing staff burnout by addressing workplace concerns and job burdens.

Burnout is a complex occupational phenomenon that is influenced by personal, interpersonal, and organisational factors. Personal factors influencing staff burnout can relate to demographics, health, self-perception and attitudes, and coping strategies. Burnout can be workplace-specific relating to particular characteristics of the type of work, setting of work and organisational processes. Supporting residents and clients with high care needs and palliative care needs can also be an extra factor in emotional stress and moral distress.  Burnout occurs when the stressors exceed the person’s ability to cope.

Self-care is a coping strategy to manage stress. Self-awareness, maintaining perspective and enough emotional distance are important aspects of self-care. Feeling supported by a team or mentor may also be an important strategy in self-care. Services can provide staff with information and training in self-care strategies and information on how to access personal support in order to promote wellness and wellbeing.

Organisations can implement programs that foster a sense of teamwork and community among aged care workers. They can invest in comprehensive training programs to equip workers with the necessary skills for diverse caregiving situations. Implementing recognition and reward systems that acknowledge the hard work and dedication of aged care workers can be useful. Invest in leadership, as strong leadership can minimise distress and create psychological safety and inclusivity among staff members.

Want to know more?

  1. You can browse the workforce retention and staff burnout resources. 
  2. ARIIA has completed an environmental scan and literature searches to find existing tools to measure burnout for the aged care workforce. 
  3. The Nurses and Midwives Support website is 24/7 national support service for nurses & midwives providing access to confidential advice and referral. The workplace section deals with topics such as burnout, compassion and compassion fatigue, and bullying and harassment. 
  4. The ELDAC Self-care Room has comprehensive information and resources for aged care workers. 

Connect to PubMed evidence

If you wish to find out more about burnout in aged care, try using one of the PubMed searches below. These links (all or full text) take you to the relevant research literature in the large international PubMed database.

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