Geriatric mental health: staff stress on an Alzheimer's unit
Nurses who work with patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are especially vulnerable to the effects of stress and burnout. Many are poorly trained to cope with the emotional and behavioral problems of these residents and are repeatedly frustrated by their inability to manage these recurrent problems. Specialized care units (SCUs) reduced stress in the areas of staff knowledge, abilities, and resources. The SCU was designed specifically to provide the special environmental structures, support, and service systems required for the care of persons with AD that would enhance functioning and decrease associated behavioral problems. Support groups can assist nurses to recognize causes of stress, to ventilate feelings, and to examine value and belief systems. They also offer psychiatric nurses the opportunity to encourage staff to develop their lives outside the workplace and to devise effective coping strategies for work and personal stressors.
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