Burnout in Palliative Care Settings Compared With Other Settings: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

A systematic review, using the guideline of the Joanna Briggs Institute, was conducted to explore the effect of working in palliative care settings, compared with other settings, on burnout among health care professionals. Multiple databases were searched—CINAHL, PubMed, Scopus, and SciELO—as well as gray literature for studies published since 1975 that compared health professionals caring for patients older than 18 years in specialized palliative care settings (palliative care units, home care, or hospices) with health professionals working in other settings. Of the 539 studies retrieved, 7 cross-sectional studies were included in this review. Of these, six were conducted with nurses, and six used the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Working in palliative care (palliative care unit or hospices) was associated with lower levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, as well as higher levels of personal accomplishment, compared with working in other settings. Evidence indicates that burnout levels seem to be lower among professionals working in palliative care compared with professionals working in other settings. Further research is needed to explore the strategies used by nurses working in palliative care that help them deal with burnout and to apply these same strategies to professionals working in other settings.

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