Caregiver Burden & Burnout

An Interdisciplinary Evidence-based Approach in Understanding Resilient Functioning to Prevent Caregiver Burden and Burnout in Families with Special Needs Children

Hong Kong has a growing number of children with special needs, including those who have developmental problems, attention-deficient/hyperactive disorder, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disability, physical disability, chronic illness, and mental illness. Providing care to children with special needs is an enduring challenge and burden to family caregivers. Many family caregivers have difficulties in balancing caregiving, work, and other family responsibilities.  Caregiver burnout may develop in reaction to the stress and strain in caring for special needs children. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. The demands on the caregiver’s body, mind, and emotions can take over, leading to fatigue, hopelessness, and ill-health.  Caregiver burnout not only negatively affects the physical and mental well-being of the caregiver, the quality of care to the special needs children and other family members may also be compromised. In addition, research has shown that stress and burnout of family caregivers may be linked to higher risks of neglect and abuse of the care-recipients, poor marital and family relationship, and poor work performance. As such, it is important to reduce caregiver burnout to prevent the deterioration of caregiver health and adverse outcome to the care-recipients. It is hypothesized that identifying and strengthening resilience resources at the individual, family, and community levels may help to build caregiver’s resilience, that in turn may help to prevent caregiver burden and burnout.

Primary interdisciplinary team members: (additional members to be invited): 
Professor Catherine Tang, Department of Counselling & Psychology
Dr Margaret Wong, Department of Social Work 
Dr Ruth Zhou, Department of Counselling & Psychology