Recruiting and retaining caregivers is one of the biggest challenges for home healthcare agencies. Turnover is high […]
Caregivers are the lifeblood of your business. Are you making sure their needs are met?
Burnout is one of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry today. In a recent survey of senior care professionals, 49% ranked feeling stressed and burned out as the most significant challenge they face. When asked to rank their level of stress or burnout, 61% said they were extremely stressed or burned out.
Stress and burnout can affect a person’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. If not detected or addressed, burnout can lead to hypertension, heart disease, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), isolation, substance abuse, broken relationships, and even suicide.
Burnout also affects an individual’s ability to work effectively. Can you recognize the signs of burnout?
When caregivers are burned out, they are more likely to report late or fail to come to work, resist supervision, lose empathy for clients, and make mistakes in care. How can you ensure that your clients get the highest quality of care and that caregivers are physically, mentally, and emotionally able to do their jobs?
There are several ways you can help caregivers manage stress and prevent burnout. These include offering competitive wages, benefits, and recognition, ongoing training and education, open communication, flexible schedules, and access to counseling and other resources.
Supervision and Support
It is important to ensure caregivers have consistent and accessible support and supervision to help them work safely and effectively. However, it can be confusing if they are unsure of who their supervisor is or if they have multiple supervisors. Supervisors should be accessible, establish clear and consistent communication, and help with problem-solving.
Communication and Feedback
Managers can create a "culture of connection" by regularly checking in with staff and inviting them to share feedback and concerns. Home care workers often feel isolated when working unsupervised, so having someone to talk to who listens and advises can be very reassuring. Even if managers don't have all the answers, they can listen and empathize.
An early sign of burnout is reduced enthusiasm for one’s work. Recognition, such as verbal praise, awards, bonuses, paid time off, or other forms of acknowledgment, help caregivers feel valued and appreciated. This positive reinforcement can improve their self-esteem, motivation, and overall job satisfaction.
Traveling to and from clients’ homes is often a significant source of stress for home caregivers. When creating schedules, make sure to provide adequate time to travel to and from work. Flexible scheduling around an employee’s personal responsibilities, such as child care can also help reduce stress.
Wages and Benefits
A key to supporting employees is supporting them financially. In addition to a competitive hourly wage, agencies that employ home care workers should offer benefits such as hazard pay, paid sick leave and holidays, and personal protective equipment. Benefits such as health insurance and travel allowances can also provide much-needed peace of mind. Some agencies offer paid time off for caregivers who have experienced the loss of a long-term client.
Sharing and Support Networks
One of the best ways employers can help caregivers manage stress is through peer networks and mentors. A peer mentor can help answer caregivers’ questions, address concerns, and support them as they develop their knowledge and skills. Peer mentors and support networks offer support, guidance, and a sense of belonging to other caregivers.
Peer support is no substitute for professional counseling and other mental health resources, which should also be available to all employees.
Counseling and Support Services
Many companies provide resources such as counseling services or support groups for home care workers to address the emotional demands of the job. Some agencies offer free confidential counseling for PTSD, mental health, and substance abuse.
Orientation and Training
Caregivers need help adjusting to their jobs, just as other staff members do. An orientation plan and a peer mentor can help ease the transition.
Orientation and Training
Caregivers often have limited opportunities for job advancement, so access to training and ongoing education can be especially helpful in reducing burnout. Training prepares them to more effectively manage stressful situations, such as caring for patients with dementia or heart disease, or providing end-of-life care.
Caregiver Burnout Prevention Certification
Caregivers can only provide exceptional care for clients if they take care of their own health first. CareAcademy’s Caregiver Burnout Prevention Certification helps direct care workers (DCWs) identify sources of stress and signs of burnout, and develop coping skills to prevent burnout.
The 4-hour curriculum includes:
- CARE0904: Recognizing and Preventing Caregiver Burnout
- CARE0900: Coping Skills for Caregivers
- CARE0902: Managing Job-Related Stress
- CARE0104: Time Management & Organizational Skills
Learn more about CareAcademy’s specialized certifications here.