'Mindfulness training could help reduce burn out'

'Mindfulness may reduce staff sickness and even the use of physical restraint'.

Mindfulness training may lower staff sickness and even the use of physical restraint, the Learning Disability Practice 2017 conference heard.

Dene Donalds promotes mindfulness as a coping strategy for nurses.  Picture: Neil O'Connor

Dene Donalds, director of Pathways Associates, a not-for-profit mindfulness training provider, told delegates in Manchester on 10 October: ‘The Health and Safety Executive said 47% of absence from all work in 2016 was stress, anxiety or depression-related.’

Coping mechanism

Mindfulness involves encouraging people to focus on the present, which, it is claimed, enables them to give their full attention to the task or enjoyment at hand.

Mr Donalds said it could be particularly beneficial for learning disabilities nurses when dealing with the death of patients or clients to whom they had grown close, or when facing fight-or-flight situations.

Mr Donalds said nurses have to suppress reactions when facing challenging situations, which can cause a build-up of emotion, resulting in headaches, sleep disorder and anxiety. This in turn can lead to over-eating, self-destructive behaviour and potential substance dependency.

‘It is essential that we care for and are compassionate to ourselves,’ he said.

'Benefits to employers'

He said it was in the interests of employers as a well as staff to increase resilience. He suggested mindfulness training could then lead to reduced physical or chemical restraint.

He said trainers in physical intervention at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust are required to undertake three hours of mindfulness training and pass a written test.


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