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Compassion Fatigue in Out of Home Care Workers: A Systematic Review

Evidence suggests that providing out-of-home care to children is associated with high levels of compassion fatigue, possibly due to various work-related factors. This review examined the existing literature to determine the extent to which out of home care work results in compassion fatigue. To do so, it established which out of home care settings compassion fatigue has been measured in, how, and what factors contribute to developing compassion fatigue in this work. The study conducted a comprehensive search of five electronic databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMED, and CENTRAL) for full-text articles examining compassion fatigue in out-of-home care workers caring for children aged 0–18 years. Out of the 2,759 articles initially identified, 14 articles were included. Studies were assessed against the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal Checklists for risk of bias. The findings suggest that compassion fatigue is prevalent in various out-of-home care settings and has been measured using validated quantitative and qualitative measures. Out of home care workers caring for children reported symptoms consistent with compassion fatigue, but a range of protective factors were also identified that may reduce its negative impact. This review highlights the need for further research in this area, using larger sample sizes and including a more comprehensive range of out-of-home care workers, settings, and countries.

Tessa Benveniste
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Journal article - open access
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