• Cheryl Ginnings

Are You Experiencing Burn-out?

Today our professionals recognize that many of our caregivers, direct care professionals, and even those at home with family members are experiencing burn-out. There has always been this problem, but it was not recognized for what it really means.

There are lots of reasons that this is happening and I will just point out a few. But while I am mentioning these, it is important for those who are experiencing burn-out to take action to help protect your health.

Some of the signs might be exhaustion, depression, unable to cope with the needs of others, poor health that is neglected, unable to relax or sleep. These are not all the signs, but this is enough for you to pay attention to your own health.

The saying that is always used on airlines before take-off is appropriate here. When explaining if there is a drop in oxygen to put your mask on first, it is also true here! This is not selfish, but safety first! If you pass out, the person you are caring for will not be able to help you or themselves.

If you end up in the hospital from neglecting your own health, what will happen to those you might be caring for? They cannot take care of themselves, much less, care for you.

So now that we know what it is and why it is important to care for yourself, what can you do?

Let's say you are caring for a loved one at home. Did you know that 67% of this group will pass away before their loved one? So this is a very important discussion. Many times people feel that there is no one who can help them. While that may be true, often, when I ask them who they have asked, the answer is "no one, but..." They assume that no one will help. They have not asked.

1. Ask for help

2. Hire someone to help, even if just time to care for your health

3. Schedule some "me time" to exercise, eat a meal in peace, rest, nap, or just sit on the porch.

4. Have a family meeting to discuss how everyone in the family will contribute.

5. Make sure you schedule your dr. appointments and keep them.

6. Eat healthy without depending on fast food or snacks

7. Schedule some spiritual time and read your Bible, journal, pray or meditate

8. Make sure you have someone to talk to and schedule a time for that.

There are more things you can do, but that is enough to start realizing you must care for yourself.

If you are working in group homes, in assisted care, or nursing homes, the tension can be hard. There are others working and there are more demands with more patients. There are those clients who are shouting for help almost constantly, while others cannot talk and also need attention.

For those who are giving care, be sure you are always kind to those you serve. Being angry with someone who often cannot know what they are saying to you, will cause you to lose your own temper and maybe result in your rage. Rage can be caused by others or even just how you are feeling that day and take it out on others who do not deserve it.

For instance, in abuse situations, there are some patients who have been physically abused who did not do anything to cause it. I personally know of some situations. There is NO EXCUSE to abuse patients physically or emotionally. Realize that you may be too tired from too little sleep. Talk to the head staff and let them know you have had a hard day and need a few minutes for time out. If you are the admin, be sure you allow your staff to tell you how they are feeling and help them deal with it. You will save your own staff by being understanding, and you will probably prevent abuse and lawsuits.

As admin at facilities, be sure to do background checks. The nursing homes have got a bad reputation many times by patients and families who notice a lot more than you realize. They see the good, bad and ugly! They tell others and you lose business. So be more aware of how your staff is treating others. If you notice something not appearing right, take time to go and visit with the staff and the client. Find out what is really happening and be on top of the situations.

Direct care staff has one of the highest turnover rates. I read one place it was over 90%!! Isn't easier to hire right and train them to prevent turnover? Make sure they are all following the correct procedures and when they have emergencies at home or their own health, choose to be understanding.

If you need more information about this or your facility needs someone to come and talk to the staff, please know that you can call and we can discuss what you might need. This is really a big crisis for many facilities and it is time to do something about it. You might ask about having a workshop for training or consulting to help get to the bottom of the problems and change your reputation!!

Have a great day!

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