Is the burnout syndrome associated with elder mistreatment in nursing homes: results of a cross-sectional study among nurses

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Abstract

As this issue has not yet been addressed in Croatia, our aim was to explore the presence of the burnout syndrome in nurses and see how it is related to their perception of elder mistreatment in nursing homes and extended care units. The burnout syndrome was assessed in 171 nursing professionals with a standardised Maslach Burnout Inventory for Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) for three dimensions: emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalisation (DP), and personal accomplishment (PA). High EE was reported by 43.9 %, high DP by 22.2 %, and low PA by 39.8 % of the respondents. Their perception of elder abuse and neglect was investigated with two self-completion questionnaires. The answers suggest that elder mistreatment in Croatian nursing homes and extended care units is more common than expected: 55 % witnessed shouting at a resident in anger, 43 % insulting and swearing at a resident, 42 % force-feeding the resident, 39 % ignoring a resident when they called, and 38 % neglecting to turn or move a resident to prevent pressure sores. We also established associations between a number of questionnaire items on perceived abuse and neglect and the burnout syndrome dimensions and determined the items that predicted the type and level of burnout in our respondents. One way to avoid the pitfalls that lead to abuse and neglect is education in schools and at work. We believe our research could contribute to this end.

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