LeadingAge New York Adviser Adviser LeadingAge NewYork Spring 2019 final - Page 37

Combating Burnout ... (Continued from page 43) aging services organizations and their employees must be equipped with resilience strategies to face stressful situations with vigor. This can be done through a three-part approach, Awareness-Regulation- Leadership Resilience Competencies TM , which can be uniquely applied to both the facility and its staff. • Awareness: Being aware of what types of situations may consistently be causing stress is the first step in being able to proactively address the reaction. This is not just a general recommendation that it is “better to be more aware,” but drawn from experience with high reliability organizations in which working professionals must be constantly aware of their behaviors and those they interact with. From a caregiver’s perspective, awareness involves knowing personal pressure points that can lead to breakdowns. Organizationally, this means being mindful of occupational stressors across the facility. Rather than allowing the stigma of stress exposure to infiltrate the facility, an organizational commitment to awareness serves to democratize this vulnerability so that caregivers can be professional in accepting the risks inherent in their positions. • Regulation: Knowing how to regulate responses to stress, both on a staff and facility level, is vital. While there are parts of the brain that are wired to help individuals respond to stressful situations, this can sometimes ...we’re already seeing psychological cause irrational actions, especially if stress builds up over time. assistance integrated in workers The goal is to regulate the temperature of a stress response to be in a balanced and productive range: not too hot or too compensation as a result of stressful cold. To help staff members put this into action, aging services conditions on the job. organizations can provide resources and training opportunities that are focused on practicing balanced vigilance, mindfulness and other self-regulation techniques. These tactics are incredibly important when it comes to reducing risks, as those who can regulate stress will be less likely to make errors and more likely to stay calm in challenging situations. • Leadership: At the organizational level, those in leadership positions need to show their support of the overall wellbeing of their staff. More often than not, stressful conditions occur when there is an emotionless culture of command or control. Instead, organization leaders must be authentic in assessing the physical and mental health of their staff. This means not just having policies in place that address the emotional aspects of being a direct care worker, but also applying those policies with humanity and vigor. For those in a managerial position, this means being a role model and mentor to others in the facility during times of distress. It also means doing what you can as a leader to mitigate stress through adequate support and effective communication. While there is currently no government mandate in New York for aging services or other health and human services organizations to provide this type of emotional support, we believe it may be headed in that direction. For example, we’re already seeing psychological assistance integrated in workers compensation as a result of stressful conditions on the job. Either way, it’s both the sensible and the right thing to do. After all, organizations will have successful outcomes when they demonstrate seriousness in their duty and responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of their staff. leadingageny.org 36