Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Direct Service Workers to Provide Self-Directed HCBS

What if a DSW is Experiencing High Stress or Burnout?

While some individuals who self-direct services become the legal employer of their DSWs, this is not the case in all self-direction models. Check with your service coordinator and financial management services agency if you have questions about how your self-direction model is structured or your responsibilities in managing services.

1. Listen

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2. Read

The previous lessons in this module explained what high stress or burnout might look like in a DSW. DSWs might also tell you that they are stressed.

You have to be careful about respecting DSWs' personal lives. If you think that your DSW is experiencing stress or burnout, it is okay to express your concern if it is affecting their work performance.

There are ways that you can help a DSW who is experiencing high stress or burnout, but a good place to start is by asking the DSW. If you notice some signs of stress or burnout or a DSW tells you that they are stressed, you can talk with them about it. People manage stress differently, so what works for one DSW might not work for another.

3. Reflect

What do you think?

Jared has always done a great job supporting you, but recently he seems to be forgetting things. He doesn’t talk as much as he used to, and he seems to get frustrated more easily.

It would be good to ask yourself these questions before talking to Jared.  Is this change in his behavior recent?  If it is recent, Jared might just be having a bad day (or a bad week).  Everyone has bad days.  If the change in how he acts has been longer, is it affecting his work or how he interacts with you?  If the answer is yes, it might be time to have a talk.  Remember to focus on his work performance.   You might say "Jared, I notice that when you come to work you seem forgetful and frustrated.  Is there something going on?"

If Jared's stress is related to his work as a DSW, find out if there is something you can do to reduce some of the stress.  If his stress is personal, share some of the resources at the end of the lesson.  One of them might help.