Background Staff shortages in children’s palliative care and uncertainty about how to promote the wellbeing of staff who work in the sector are increasing concerns. The SWiCH (Staff Wellbeing in Children’s Hospices) study aims to increase understanding about the work-related stressors and rewards experienced by staff working in children’s hospices, and identify the staff support systems and organisational practices that offer potential to enhance wellbeing at work.
Methods This mixed methods study has two phases. The first consists of a systematic review to identify factors associated with work-related wellbeing of staff in hospice settings, and the development of work-related stressors and rewards scales for children’s hospice staff. The second phase is a cross-sectional survey of UK children’s hospice organisations and their care staff.
Results Findings from this ongoing study will be presented. The systematic review included 20 studies that identified personal, role and organisational factors associated with wellbeing. The scale development adapted measures for paediatric oncology through survey feedback, focus groups and cognitive interviews with 60 staff from five children’s hospices. New stressor and rewards were identified, including: providing complex medical care; supporting families through end of life and Bereavement; and the challenges of liaising with non-hospice services. The national survey will examine levels of staff wellbeing (including burnout) and use regression models to identify the associated organisational features.
Conclusions This study will provide important evidence about wellbeing and burnout in children’s hospice staff, and increase knowledge about organisational and staff support features that enhance wellbeing. The children’s hospice sector has welcomed the opportunity to be involved in this research, and the development work has already shed light on the distinct stressors and rewards experienced by staff.
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