Send to

Choose Destination
Explore (NY). 2019 Jan - Feb;15(1):19-26. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2018.07.004. Epub 2018 Jul 20.

Testing of A Caregiver Support Team.

Author information

University of California San Diego Health, 200 W Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103, USA.
University of California San Diego Health, 200 W Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103, USA; Physician Assessment and Clinical Education Program 1899 McKee Street, Ste. 126, San Diego, CA 92110-1976, USA.
University of California San Diego Health, 200 W Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103, USA. Electronic address:



Healthcare clinicians often endure stress over long periods of time. The burden of witnessing death and disability, complex work duties, long and irregular hours, the threat of errors, and tensions between colleagues result in emotional strain, anxiety, depression, burnout and in the worst case: suicide. The Caregiver Support Team was designed to provide emotional first aid to clinicians in the healthcare environment in the moment of need and triage those who would benefit from ongoing care.


To test the feasibility of providing a Caregiver Support Team to provide emotional first aid in the workplace. This project is an extension of our previously reported Code Lavender initiative.


After stressful events in the workplace, staff will provide, receive, and recommend the Caregiver Support Team to others. The Caregiver Support Team will be used and accepted by clinicians, improve Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQoL) scores, general job satisfaction and feeling cared for in the workplace.


We describe a pilot program. Following the completion of a Code Lavender pilot, physicians and staff on 4 hospital units provided nominations for peer supporters: someone they would trust in a time of emotional need. These peer supporters were provided 8 hours of training by a psychologist and voluntarily sought to find those in the workplace who were affected by workplace stress and provide emotional support. Feasibility data and ProQoL scores were collected at baseline and 3 months.


At baseline, 59% (n = 44) reported symptomatic stress caused by the workplace. Main causes of stress were emotional responses of patients/families, disputes with colleagues, and negative clinical outcomes. Colleagues were reported as the most frequently used source of support following workplace stress. A Caregiver Support Team intervention was received by 40% of respondents; 100% found it helpful and 100% would recommend it to others. No significant changes were demonstrated before and after the intervention in ProQoL Scores, or job satisfaction. The emotion of feeling cared-for improved. Staff spontaneously requested emotional debriefings through peer supporters. One suicide was prevented.


The Caregiver Support Team was positively received. The organization received budgetary support from our hospital to disseminate the program system-wide. Additional interventions are needed to overcome the root cause of workplace stressors. A formal link between Risk Management is being developed to identify cases which warrant emotional (vs. clinical only or both) debriefing/group processing.


Abbreviations: ProQOL; Burnout; Coping Skills; Empathy; Job satisfaction; Professional Quality of Life; Stress. psychological; Workplace

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center