In the trenches: Front line workers’ burnout experience in long term care settings in the COVID-19 pandemic

Burnout is a well-known and longtime issue originating from various reasons leading to negative consequences such as depression and anxiety among the workers and lower quality of care in both acute and long-term care. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged long-term care facilities where underpaid yet essential frontline workers work. The experiences regarding the impact of COVID-19 on frontline workers' work have not been heard at the same level compared to workers in the acute care sector. The purpose of this study was to describe frontline workers' experiences at the beginning of the pandemic and identify strategies to support them.

Key Questions

  1. What are the primary sources of stress that contribute to burnout of front-line workers across the long-term care settings of the health system from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, to date?
  2. What strategies can long-term care health systems employ to support front-line workers in the COVID-19 pandemic?



This research is timely and relevant given the lessons learned as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a renewed interest in how to better care for front-line workers (10, 30). As the pandemic has illuminated, front-line workers are essential to the care of the frailest elders, yet the supports they receive to enhance their job and prevent burnout are non-existent. Identifying resources that prioritize those who are working “in the trenches” can transform the industry among this rapidly expanding, essential workforce.

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