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A New Study Looks at the Prevalence of Burnout in Healthcare Employees

A recently published study examines levels of burnout in healthcare workers. Via interview and survey, the researchers looked to discover what percentage of workers suffer, what are the contributing factors that make staff more susceptible, and what types of facilities are most conducive to burnout. The study concluded that burnout is higher in long-term care facilities, especially nursing homes.

On average, 18% of all those involved in healthcare suffer from burnout. Burnout syndrome is characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion, depersonalization with respect to patients, and a low perception of job worth. The study also measured the average levels of each symptom, observing a 33% incident of exhaustion and that 36% of healthcare providers suffer from depersonalization. These values are higher in nurses and assistants, as the amount of time spent in direct contact with patients corresponds with the likeliness of burnout. Because they employ mainly nurses, skilled nursing facilities have an even higher risk than other healthcare center.

Burnout not only has a detrimental effect on employees, but can directly impact the quality of care given to residents. Staff suffering from burnout are much more likely to be irritable, anxious, and moody, resulting in fraught relations with patients and their families. They are also less productive and time efficient. As a result, other staff members are put under more stress to pick up the workload. The quality of care that the patients receive for those with burnout syndrome can also significantly decrease.

Burnout is a very significant issue for nursing homes as it is harmful to both employees and patients. Facilities should take precautions to prevent burnout from happening. Studies indicate that overwork and stress are major factors in burnout, such as would be experienced in an understaffed nursing home. Adequate preparation and job specific training can also help staff avoid burnout. For this reason, and others, it is very important that enough nursing staff are employed to fully take care of all residents. Besides burnout, understaffing can harm patients in other ways, including infection outbreaks, increased fall risks, and even wrongful death.

Perhaps one of the most common injuries brought about by understaffing is the development of pressure ulcers. Pressure sores occur when a bedridden, or largely immobile, patient spends too long in one position and pressure upon tender areas of skin causes the damage and death of issue. Bedsores can become so severe as to destroy the surrounding muscle and even expose bone. Pressure ulcers are preventable, so it is a travesty when nursing home residents are forced to go through long periods of suffering due to them. In some cases, the severity of decubitus ulcers can even lead to death. When there is adequate staff in a nursing home to properly care for their residents, pressure sores can be prevented by periodically repositioning the patient so as to relieve pressure on sensitive areas and keeping up with nutrition, hydration and activities to maintain skin health. These prevention techniques are very effective and relatively easy to do, as long as the nursing home employs enough staff to fully care for their patients, and not violate their right to a good quality of life.

The main reason that residents develop pressure sores is neglect. No one should have to suffer through bedsores because their facility refuses to employ sufficient nurses. If you believe that your loved one has become the victim of abuse or neglect in his or her nursing home, or has developed pressure ulcers that should have been prevented, please contact us today to see what we can do to ensure that your loved one receives the care and respect he or she is entitled to.