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Seeking solutions for healthcare worker burnout

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Delaware Public Media

Over the last two years, healthcare workers have navigated through two pandemics - the coronavirus and the exhaustion, stress, and heartache that come with it.

Staff at ChristianaCare say they need a lifeline - and they can’t wait.

The health system’s Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Heather Farley and Delaware Public Media’s Rebecca Baer discuss a “rescue plan” for those workers.

Delaware Public Media's Rebecca Baer interviews ChristianaCare Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Heather Farley about healthcare worker burnout.

ChrisitianaCare joined a national effort to address burnout among health care professionals, a situation exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nationally, and even internationally, we are seeing

Dr Heather Farley
LUIGI CIUFFETELLI
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Dr. Heather Farley, ChristianaCare Chief Wellness Officer also heads the health system's Center for WorkLife Wellbeing

increased rates of depression, anxiety and burnout in the health care workforce.  As you know, we’re also seeing significant staffing shortages.  You’ve likely heard conversation around the Great Resignation and certainly health care has not been immune to this phenomenon," said ChristianaCare's Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Heather Farley.

But now, Farley has helped develop a national “rescue package” to address burnout among caregivers.

She says health systems can start by adjusting expectations and getting rid of what Farley calls “stupid stuff.”

"This means partnering with our clinicians to identify and remove low-value work so caregivers can focus on patient care - things like reducing clicks in the electronic health record for common workflows or eliminating unnecessary training requirements," said Farley.

She says systems can also provide more mental health and peer support services. Other actions in the rescue package include taking radical steps to shore up staffing needs and designating a well-being executive.

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Rebecca Baer comes Delaware Public Media from The Florida Channel in Tallahassee where she covered state government and produced documentary features for the series, Florida Crossroads.