The paper “Social Workers Can Use Sense of Coherence to Predict Burnout of End-of-Life Care-Givers (Research Report from Japan)” by Prof. Becker was published in British Journal of Social Work
Social Workers Can Use Sense of Coherence to Predict Burnout of End-of-Life Care-Givers (Research Report from Japan)
Kazuko Hiyoshi-Taniguchi, Carl B. Becker, and Ayae Kinoshita
British Journal of Social Work (2013) 1-15 doi:10.1093/bjsw/bct086, May 30, 2013
Social workers are deeply involved in supporting elder persons’ home care-givers, who frequently border on burnout or nervous breakdown. Since social workers cannot fully assist every family caring for frail elders at home, it is valuable to pre-identify those care-givers in greatest need of social work support. Previous research suggests that care-givers’ sleep interruption is a major factor in their sense of burden, but this alone proves inadequate to discriminate those in need of extra social work support. We hypothesised that care-givers’ Sense of Coherence (SOC) was the major factor in their sense of burden. With co-operation of social workers in rural and urban Japan, we surveyed care-givers’ SOC and sense of burden. Our study of 177 family care-givers showed that a high SOC substantially mitigated their sense of burden, while care-givers with low senses of meaning felt more burdened. This suggests that social workers should administer a simple SOC test to home care-givers in order to predict those care-givers most needful of social work assistance during End-of-Life (EOL) home care. Moreover, if social workers could elevate home care-givers’ SOC through social support or programmes of exercise or meditation, this might reduce home care-givers’ sense of burden, ultimately reducing burnout, neglect and abuse of homebound elderly.