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Relieve 4 Common Staff Stressors in Senior Living & Long-Term Care

September 8, 2017 | Mike Pumphrey

common sources of stress for long-term care and senior living staffCaring for residents can be one of the most rewarding experiences for workers in long-term care and senior living, and the strong bonds that are formed give both parties something to look forward to each day.

But this line of work naturally has its ups and downs and can be extremely demanding at times. Residents will have good days, and they’ll have bad ones—and the stress associated with the bad ones can easily become overwhelming and detrimental to caregivers’ ability to provide quality care if left unaddressed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some common indictors that an employee is stressed include1:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression

To prevent the above from happening, providers need to do their part to help staff relieve stress. Here are four causes of employee stress and what you can do as a provider to help your staff find relief:

  1. Work-Life Balance

Sometimes, juggling work and other outside responsibilities are a source of stress. Many employees pick up extra shifts when extra care is needed, work other jobs or attend school. Long hours, lack of sleep and not enough personal time can take a serious toll.

Caregivers should have the ability to request PTO, communicate their work preferences and pick-up open shifts with ease. Consider employee scheduling software that’s available via mobile device to make knowing when and where they work easier and more accessible.

Employees should also remember to look after themselves by taking time off work, but employers can also play a helping hand. For instance, companies should pay attention to employee overtime to help prevent burnout.  

  1. Unforeseen Financial Troubles

Planning for the unexpected can seem impossible when it comes to finances. Car repairs, emergency room visits or anything that requires an unexpected payment is a stressful situation for anyone.

Although not directly work related, financial troubles tend to weigh more heavily on people than other issues—particularly while they’re at work. In fact, 44% of Americans report being stressed about finances while at work and such stress often translates to a lack of focus, tardiness and absenteeism2.

Providers can ease employees’ financial stress by allowing them access to their earned but unpaid wages between paychecks for financial emergencies, or to better align expenses. This is a sure way for providers to show staff they’re committed to their well-being.

Give employees financial peace of mind with access to earned wages – between paychecks – to better manage expenses. 

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  1. Too Many Tasks

Having too many tasks on your plate often leads to anxiety—and this issue is often magnified for caregivers due to the physical and emotional demands of providing care.

In addition to caring for multiple residents, caregivers are also responsible for paperwork, interacting with residents’ family members and several other assignments on a daily basis.

Staying organized can help, but providers can step in and relieve some of this stress by offering perks to keep staff in good spirits, even when work gets hectic. These perks can range from birthday and anniversary celebrations to offering discounted meals and showcasing an employee of the month. There are plenty of affordable ways to increase staff satisfaction and boost employee engagement. Download The BIG Book of Perks in Senior Care to find the perks that work best for your community.

  1. Caregiving Challenges

Caregivers sometimes face residents who are unhappy or uncomfortable due to illness or other issues. According to Today’s Geriatric Medicine, there are several proven techniques when it comes to managing difficult residents, such as redirection and deflection.3 Employers can provide training on those techniques and others to ease the process of managing difficult situations with residents.

Less Stress Leads to Better Care

Being a caregiver can be stressful, there’s no doubt about it. However, that stress can be minimized and managed properly when providers offer assistance to avoid employee burnout. Simply giving staff early access to earned wages and implementing technology that makes managing their schedule easier can go a long way in creating happy employees that are committed to providing quality care.

1 Stress symptoms: effects on your body and behavior, Mayo Clinic, 2016.
2 Employee Financial Wellness Survey 2016 results, PwC, 2016.
3 Managing Difficult Behavior in Dementia, Linda Conti, 2016.

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About Mike Pumphrey

Mike Pumphrey is Vice President of Product Marketing at OnShift. His expertise in staffing and labor management strategies in long-term care and senior living is foundational to his role leading OnShift’s Product Marketing team. Mike works hand-in-hand with state and national associations, senior care providers, and with OnShift’s Customer Success and Product teams to create impactful best practices aimed to help solve the daily workforce challenges in senior care. Mike shares insights, research and recommendations to improve clinical, operational, and financial outcomes through regular blog posts and conference speaking engagements.

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