Staff care and development There has been growing policy attention to the provision of palliative care for children. However, there has been little consideration paid to the important role of the people delivering the services and to their support and development needs (Craft and Killen 2007; Department of Health 2008). The limited research available suggests that working in the area may be associated with higher levels of work related stress and burnout when compared with other professional groups (McCluggage and Elborn 2006; Scott 2010).
In 2015 Hospice UK published `Resilience: A framework for supporting hospice staff to flourish in stressful times`, emphasising that `the most important asset we have to enable high quality care is our workforce….` The Commission into the Future of Hospice Care also focused on the importance of developing the hospice workforce. Nevertheless there is little evidence about the factors that affect well-being in the area and few studies have focused particularly on the challenges and rewards of caring for children and young people with palliative care needs and their families.
The results of a Department of Health funded study exploring the rewards and challenges of paediatric palliative care work will be presented. The study was undertaken with 52 clinical staff and investigated the impact, in one large children`s hospice, of working with children with life shortening conditions or life threatening illnesses. It identified the demands and rewards of the work and explored the support and development needs of the staff.
Participants emphasised the importance of regular opportunities to reflect on, and learn from their work with colleagues. A particular model of support will be presented which emerged as an effective and valued resource across a wide range of clinical staff.
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