Earlier this month, I took some much-needed time off to go on a cruise. I came home to a LinkedIn notification about “The big cost of not taking vacation,” reflecting on a CNN article regarding the vast number of vacation days forfeited by Americans. The author notes that people who travel tend to be happier with their jobs and companies than those who don’t.
It got me thinking (and researching) more about burnout and long-term care staffing problems. Certainly one piece of the puzzle is taking scheduled time off in order to refresh and gain perspective.
As I’ve noted in the past, there are many tactics employers can use to decrease burnout and turnover. In The keys to reducing turnover in LTC, I outlined the causes of the alarming rate of staff turnover in LTC, which can range from 55% to 75% for nurses and up to 100% for aides.
Preventing burnout in long-term care addressed training, staff scheduling and other adjustments that have been shown to reduce turnover. In another piece, I focused on ways to make long-term care jobs appealing enough to compete with less stressful jobs in the same salary range.
In my recent perusal of the research, I came upon a study that looked at factors contributing to the levels of anxiety experienced by staff members. The study suggested that the two biggest contributors to staff anxiety were “guilt about the care offered” because it wasn’t up to the standards of the individual workers and the “poor quality of the relationship with the residents’ family.”
Many of the suggestions I’ve offered in the articles noted above can improve the quality of care, but I was intrigued by the notion that improving relationships with residents’ families could have a significant impact on the anxiety levels of workers and thereby reduce burnout and turnover.