The Knowledge and Implementation Hub team conducted a scoping review of published research literature to identify evidence on staff burnout in aged care. The findings have been summarised into 'evidence themes,' each highlighting a distinct aspect of staff burnout. This page offers a concise overview of the scoping review procedure, and for a more in-depth understanding, you can refer to the PDF version of the scoping review report.
What we did
We conducted an update of the scoping review in November 2023. We searched four major databases for peer-reviewed, primary studies in the English language for studies published after the last search in November 2022. An extensive range of search terms describing (1) burnout and related issues and (2) aged care settings was used. Citations retrieved from these searches underwent independent screening by two researchers against a set of predefined eligibility criteria. Eligible studies were those that delved into the impact of burnout on aged care staff within long-term care systems. The included studies either measured staff burnout directly or explored the experiences of staff burnout.
Exclusion criteria comprised studies investigated on contributing factors to burnout without establishing a correlation, lacking the ability to identify specific results for aged care when multiple workplace settings were involved, and utilising the following research methods: pilot studies, feasibility studies, study or review protocols, tool validation studies, dissertations, magazines, conference papers or posters, editorials, commentaries, or case studies. Two additional exclusion criteria were added to ensure comprehensive and detailed understanding of the evidence. Studies were excluded if they reported on a single subscale of burnout and are secondary designed studies.
We also convened an Evidence Advisory Group, consisting of experts in the field of staff burnout in aged care. These experts offered valuable feedback on both the scoping review methodology and ‘evidence themes’ before their publication on the Hub.
Keeping the collection current
The evidence themes on this topic are kept current via regular, scheduled updates. We conducted an update of the scoping review in November 2023, employing the same methods and modified inclusion criteria for evaluating potential studies. The last scoping review covered studies conducted from 2012 to 2022, while this update included studies published after the last search was conducted (November 2022). The results from both reviews were combined to assess their significance within existing evidence themes. In this updated review, new findings emerged, and changes were made to the themes found from the last scoping review.
What we found
Database searches identified a total of 350 unique citations for screening against the inclusion criteria. Of these, 24 studies were relevant and met the inclusion criteria of staff burnout in aged care. The included studies were combined with the 64 studies found from the last search (November 2022). A total of 88 studies were reported in this updated scoping review, identifying 8 distinct themes:
- Prevalence of staff burnout pre-pandemic
- Impacts of COVID-19
- Personal factors
- Interpersonal factors
- Organisational factors
- Consequences of staff burnout
- Personal interventions
- Organisational interventions
We have summarised findings of the scoping review in each theme to help the aged care sector understand current issues within the workforce and to provide evidence in making informed decisions on practice and policymaking. See Scoping review report PDF for more information on the methods employed for this review update. You can also access the complete set of evidence themes on staff burnout from the evidence themes page.