Improving the wellbeing of your Care Home staff
If you own, manage or work for a care home, you will already be aware that the care sector is one of the most affected by high stress levels. Lack of staffing and funding challenges to care homes across the UK only heighten these stress levels and can place a large strain on the existing workforce, often leaving employees stretched too thinly.
What is burnout?
One major consequence of continuous stress with little to no recovery time is burnout. Burnout presents itself as feelings of physical or emotional exhaustion (or both) along with feeling overwhelmed, helpless, trapped, or isolated and can come hand in hand with procrastination.
If burnout is ignored, things can get worse before they get better. It can take a major toll on physical and mental wellbeing, leading to anxiety and emotional distress and in extreme instances, employees may need to be signed off work. Employees experiencing burnout can become unable to perform their role effectively, leaving care home residents experiencing lower quality service.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some symptoms of burnout may include having trouble getting started, becoming irritable or impatient with co-workers or residents, lacking energy, finding it hard to concentrate, lacking satisfaction from your achievements or unexplained headaches.
Luckily, there are things that your employees can do for themselves, and things you can do for your employees to improve symptoms of burnout and help them to recover.
Things to suggest to improve staff wellbeing
- Seek Support
Encouraging your staff to reach out to their manager should they feel burnt out, is always a step in the right direction. Ensuring your general workplace culture and senior management team is empathetic and understanding of your employees’ struggles can also help them to be more willing to open up about how they’re feeling.
- Improving staff wellbeing outside of work
Your staff should aim to make the most of their free time and focus on themselves, rather than work. Encourage them to do things they enjoy in their free time or try a new hobby or a relaxing activity like yoga, meditation, tai chi, or painting. Regular physical activity can also help to better deal with stress and can keep your mind off work.
- Mindfulness for reduced stress and better sleep
Sometimes stress can affect someone’s ability to sleep and can leave them tossing and turning for hours overnight. Once sleep problems begin, they can trigger anxiety around the idea of bedtime, making it even more difficult to fall asleep, which can quickly become a vicious cycle!
According to the Sleep Foundation, evidence suggests that it might bring about relaxation and ease stress. Research also suggests that meditation can help with sleep disturbances. Meditation styles often incorporate the idea of mindfulness, which means a focus on the present moment with an open, non-judgmental mindset. Meditation may also incorporate concentrating on a repeated phrase, a visual image, a sound, or a sensation, such as breathing, to help reduce distractions.
There are many resources including mobile apps to get you, or your employees started with mindfulness and guided meditation, which can be a good starting point for beginners.
- Talk to colleagues
If nobody knows you are suffering, nobody can help! Encouraging positive relationships between your employees means they may be more inclined to let each other know when they need some extra support. By making others aware of their situation, gives others the chance to take some of the extra workload, which may ease the pressure slightly.
Things you can do to improve staff wellbeing
- Create support plans
Similar to the care plans you may provide for your residents; you could develop personalised support plans to help promote staff wellbeing. This could include things like reduced responsibility for a temporary period or offering flexible working options to help manage personal commitments out of work.
- Have supportive resources on hand
Accumulate online resources, like the ones that can be found here, and have these on hand and ready for when an employee may need them. We also have some free resources on tips for optimal sleep, morning routines, nutrition, mindfulness and more available here that you can share with your employees. You could even consider offering some form of mental health service as an employee benefit, or training managers to be mental health first aiders, so they better understand mental health difficulties.
Along with this, implementing regular staff wellbeing discussions, either as a team or privately, to find out how your staff are coping, could be beneficial.
- Recognise and empathise with outside difficulties
Working in an industry like care where work-life balance is difficult to juggle, showing compassion and empathy for employee’s personal struggles can go a long way.
No matter what you do, staff wellbeing should be a major priority in your workplace. Ensuring you create a compassionate and supportive work environment and put practices in place to prevent or manage burnout will not only boost productivity and morale but may also decrease employee turnover.
We’re here to help with your insurance needs
If you would like to talk to an experienced commercial broker about your Care Home Insurance needs, we’d be delighted to hear from you. We work with our clients to create a programme of insurance covers to protect against any potential claims.
Our impartial advice and guidance will help to ensure you have the right level of cover in place, so you can enjoy complete peace of mind and focus on running your care home.
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