Int J Nurs Stud 2014 Jan 27;51(1):63-71. Epub 2012 Dec 27.
University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institute for Health Service Research in Dermatology and Nursing, Germany. Electronic address:
Background: Staff providing inpatient elderly and geriatric long-term care are exposed to a large number of factors that can lead to the development of burnout syndrome. Burnout is associated with an increased risk of absence from work, low work satisfaction, and an increased intention to leave. Due to the fact that the number of geriatric nursing staff is already insufficient, research on interventions aimed at reducing work-related stress in inpatient elderly care is needed.
Objective: The aim of this systematic review was to identify and analyse burnout intervention studies among nursing staff in the inpatient elderly and geriatric long-term care sector.
Methods: A systematic search of burnout intervention studies was conducted in the databases Embase, Medline and PsycNet published from 2000 to January 2012.
Results: We identified 16 intervention studies. Interventions were grouped into work-directed (n=2), person-directed (n=9) and combined approaches (work- and person-directed, n=5). Seven out of 16 studies observed a reduction in staff burnout. Among them are two studies with a work-directed, two with a person-directed and three with a combined approach. Person-directed interventions reduced burnout in the short term (up to 1 month), while work-directed interventions and those with a combined approach were able to reduce burnout over a longer term (from 1 month to more than 1 year). In addition to staff burnout, three studies observed positive effects relating to the client outcomes. Only three out of ten Randomised Control Trials (RCT) found that interventions had a positive effect on staff burnout.
Conclusion: Work-directed and combined interventions are able to achieve beneficial longer-term effects on staff burnout. Person-directed interventions achieve short-term results in reducing staff burnout. However, the evidence is limited.