Article Text

Staff well-being in UK children’s hospices: a national survey
  1. Andre Bedendo1,
  2. Andrew Papworth2,
  3. Johanna Taylor1,
  4. Bryony Beresford2,
  5. Suzanne Mukherjee2,
  6. Lorna Fraser3 and
  7. Lucy Ziegler4
  1. 1Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK
  2. 2Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, York, UK
  3. 3Cicely Saunders Institute and Dept of Women’s and Children’s Health, King’s College London, London, UK
  4. 4Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lucy Ziegler, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK; l.e.ziegler{at}


Objectives Poor psychological well-being among healthcare workers can have numerous negative impacts, but evidence about levels of burnout in children’s hospice care staff is limited. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of burnout and to explore the association between staff characteristics and support mechanisms with burnout among children’s hospice care staff in the UK.

Methods Two national online surveys collecting data on hospice care staff psychological well-being and hospice organisational characteristics. All children’s hospices in the UK were invited.

Thirty-one hospices (out of 52) responded to the hospice survey and 583 staff responded to the staff survey. Data collection took place between May and December 2020 and measures included the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory, Work Engagement and the Health and Safety Executive Management Standards Indicator Tool.

Results Burnout prevalence was 11% and mean burnout score was 32.5 (SD: 13.1). Burnout levels were independent of working arrangements (eg, working from home or at the hospice) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospices performed well in most management standards, but poorly on the ‘Control’ domain. The average Work Engagement score for staff was 7.5 (SD: 1.5).

Conclusions Burnout levels for staff in children’s hospices in the UK were lower than in other healthcare settings, with this comparing to 17.3% among palliative care staff generally. Overall, hospices performed well in management standards and there was no indication of urgent action needed. Work Engagement in our sample was higher compared with other National Health Service workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Hospice care
  • Paediatrics
  • Psychological care

Data availability statement

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  • Contributors Conception and design of study: JT, AP, BB, LF, SM. Acquisition and assessment of data: AB, AP, JT. Analysis and/or interpretation of data: AB, AP, JT, LZ, BB, LF, SM. Drafting the manuscript: AB, AP, LZ. Approval of the version of the manuscript to be published: all authors. LZ is responsible for the overall content as the


  • Funding This study was funded by the Martin House Research Centre: a partnership between the University of York and Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.