It is a familiar story in nursing: not enough staff, lots of overtime, overwhelming pressures, rushing to get things done, endless paperwork. Then there is the constant stream of new admissions, as well as people who have just been operated on and have especially time-consuming needs. There is all the routine work to be done in parallel: measuring patients’ blood pressure, serving meals, checking blood sugar levels, helping with personal hygiene. There never seems to be a moment to stop for a break.
Many employees do indeed miss their rest breaks, something that is more widespread in geriatric care and nursing than in other sectors. The reason for this mentioned most often by survey respondents is the high volume of work they have to cope with.
Nonetheless, rest breaks are prescribed by the legislation because they are significant for employees’ safety and health, as well as their performance and work ability. The nursing and care sector has a particular obligation to act on this issue. Demographic developments mean there are more very old people today, many of whom require care. However, nursing and geriatric care are already facing shortages of highly trained specialists and new recruits, and the current workforce is ageing.
Good working conditions can improve the chances of attracting young people to careers in nursing and care, and are essential if existing staff are to stay longer in the job. Appropriate arrangements for work breaks can make an important contribution in this respect.
The measures it is possible to take are set out in this baua: Guidance, which is aimed above all at multipliers in hospitals, old people’s homes, care homes, and outpatient care services. It is intended above all for employees in leadership roles, organisational health managers, the bodies that represent workers’ interests, and nursing and care staff themselves.
It deals with the fundamental principles of rest break organisation, the challenges encountered in nursing and care settings, the features of appropriate rest break arrangements, guidance for nursing and care staff, and recommendations for managers.
Please download the complete brochure "Appropriate rest break arrangements in nursing and care" (in German only).
Pausen in der Pflege gut gestalten.
1. edition. Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin 2021.
ISBN: 978-3-88261-290-5, pages 48, paper, PDF file, DOI: 10.21934/baua:praxis20200702
© Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health