How to Prevent Care Worker Burnout

How to Prevent Care Worker Burnout

There’s no denying that the care industry is one of the most demanding for professionals.

Keeping on top of things in our own lives is hard enough, let alone assisting others.

As a result of long shifts and draining tasks, it’s not uncommon for people in the care industry to experience burnout.

According to Psychology Today;

“Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional, exhaustion, cynicism, detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment”.

You see, top care professionals are happy to go above and beyond in order to provide their patients with the best life.

That’s why, as an organisation, it’s essential to recognise these key signs and prevent it from happening.

Failure to do so could lead to a drop in quality of work and professionals losing the will to try  – both of which can have a detrimental impact on someone’s life and the future of your organisation.

The main reasons for burnout

As well as long hours, one of the main reasons for burnout is down to an extreme amount of pressure being placed on them.

This can then lead to chronic stress and have a serious effect on someone’s mental health.

Within the care industry, this could stem from:

  • A lack of feedback, resulting in a professional feeling undervalued, uncertain or indeed anxious about the future of their job.
  • Any clashes with other care workers.
  • A poor work culture, where the carer doesn’t feel like they have any support.

If you don’t spot the signs, there’s a strong chance that the care worker may find another job, start to get sloppy with their work or fail to turn up at all.

Within the workplace, a care worker suffering from burnout is more inclined to make negative comments about patients and co-workers, which can lead to arguments, bad relationships and unproductivity.

What are the signs of burnout?

Burnout isn’t always easy to spot – especially if you’re always running around completing tasks yourself.

So to keep on top of your care workers, try to allocate some time every day or week to analyse the moods and behaviour of them all.

Whether this is achieved through a weekly one-to-one meeting or simply by watching them closely yourself, it’s up to you.

Some of the signs you should look out for are:

Clear physical exhaustion – do they look physically ill, under the weather or tired?

Emotional exhaustion – do they look less happy? Are they being argumentative towards co-workers and patients?

Negativity – are they always moaning and thinking the worst?

Quality of work – has there been a decline in their care to patients? Are they forgetting to do things or make sloppy mistakes?

If you spot any of these signs early on, you can sort these issues out efficiently and help manage it effectively.

How can you prevent burnout?

There are a number of ways you can actively help your care workers stay healthy in the mind and body.

For example, try to mix up their shift patterns and don’t make them work too many hours.

While the care industry might require tough long days, ensuring your workers are healthy is the most important element, as it will help make sure your patients only receive top quality treatment.

Offering support is another way of reducing care worker burnout.

It may sound simple, but some care workers, especially temporary ones, might feel like they can’t go and discuss things with senior staff.

So, always give them an open door policy to chat and make time to have weekly catch-ups.

You shouldn’t shy away from offering training opportunities too – even if you only have temporary staff.

You see, a lot of care professionals want to learn and need to be challenged.

If you do give them this chance to flourish, they’ll be able to do their jobs more effectively and quickly.

Reward your staff

Rewarding care workers is very important as well.

Every job is challenging, so giving them a thank you in return for their hard work will make them feel valued and boost morale within the team.

You might find productivity drastically improves too.

You can achieve this by naming a care worker of the week and buying them a bottle of bubbly.

Or simply taking the time to point out what the team has accomplished every week.

Last but not least, don’t forget to make things fun.

You should create a work environment that makes getting up and going to work a piece of cake.

Encourage staff to dress up on Red Nose Day or around the festive holidays as this can make both employees and patients smile.

If applicable, investing in some cool foosball tables, ping pong tables and a television in the staff room is a nice way of encouraging team bonding too.

Just think, a team of individuals that get on well as a team will help each other when the job gets very demanding.

Final thoughts

All-in-all, you should appreciate the severity of care worker burnout within the care industry and make positive steps to eradicate it.

The best way to do this is to take time to recognise the signs and then communicate with those that need assistance.

If you don’t find the time or do anything to make a change, you’ll soon see more care workers making mistakes and failing to turn up to work.

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