Caring for Carers

Client opening the door to let in a lady staff member

Carers and nurses spend their professional lives (and mostly likely their personal lives) taking care of others. It is second nature for them to prioritise the best interests of those around them. Prestige Inhome Care is lucky enough to witness this kind of selflessness in its care staff every day, and is incredibly proud of the way they dedicate themselves to others.

However, it is important for the healthcare industry and for Australia in general to flip this situation on its head and consider Australia’s nurses and carers as the ones that may need caring for.This is in light of the fact that such occupations are among the most likely to put their workers under immense physical and emotional stress.

“If you wanted to create the optimum environment for the manufacture of stress, many of the factors you would include would be clearly recognised by caring and nursing staff as events which they encounter in their daily routine. These include an enclosed atmosphere, time pressures, excessive noise or undue quiet, sudden swings from intense to mundane tasks, no second chance, unpleasant sights and sounds, and standing for long hours”- International Council of Nurses

Last year Victoria University conducted and published a study on “stress in regional aged care nurses”. The study explored occupational stress in aged care nurses and the coping strategies used by these nurses for stress management. Among other findings, the study found that aged care workers are subjected to a relatively great number of stressful situations in their working environment, including:

  • Heavy work load
  • Violent and aggressive behaviour from residents and families
  • Dealing with death and palliative patients
  • Clientsoften have multiple complex needs
  • Care staff may know and care for clients for several years
  • Care staff are exposed to continual death and dying
  • Caring for cognitively impaired residents can be challenging and extremely stressful

In an economy where occupational stress costs Australian businesses an estimated $10 billion per year through absenteeism, reduced productivity, and health care costs (Work Safe Australia), the need to effectively deal with the stresses present in care and nursing work has never been greater.

Sufficient training in services such as palliative care has been proven to dramatically decrease stress felt by nurses and carers. This kind of training aims to better equip nurses and carers in how to cope with death, dying, loss and grief, along with the complex ethical challenges that come with this kind of care.

At Prestige Inhome Care, we ensure our workforce frequently undergoes training in things such as palliative care, dementia care, motor neurone disease, and managing challenging behaviours. Through this training and ongoing support from the office staff, we hope our carers and nurses are well equipped to deal with the stresses that come hand in hand with the outstanding work they do, and are so grateful for the services they are able to provide to those in need.