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Understanding the Well-being of Home Visitors: A Critical Study


Fordham GSS Associate Professor Abigail Ross and Assistant Professor Rahbel Rahman have published a study that explores the well-being of home visitors within the context of home visiting programs. The research uncovers factors associated with burnout, compassion fatigue, and compassion satisfaction among home visitors in the United States. This study, titled “Investigating Correlates of Home Visitor Burnout, Compassion Fatigue, and Compassion Satisfaction in New York State: Implications for Home Visiting Workforce Development and Sustainability” and published in Maternal and Child Health Journal, offers crucial insights to support and enhance home visitor well-being, ultimately improving the effectiveness of these programs.

Understanding the Context

Home visiting programs are crucial in promoting maternal and child health outcomes. However, the well-being of home visitors themselves has been overlooked. These professionals face multiple stressors as they support expectant and postpartum mothers facing challenges like intimate partner violence, mental health issues, substance abuse, and poverty.

The Challenges Faced by Home Visitors

Home visitors are at risk of compassion fatigue, emotional and physical exhaustion resulting from empathizing with their clients’ struggles. Factors like high caseloads, job demands, and inadequate support contribute to burnout among home visitors.

The Study’s Objectives and Methodology

The research examined factors associated with burnout, compassion fatigue, and compassion satisfaction among home visitors. The study included 75 home visitors working within MIECHV-funded agencies in New York State. Participants completed a comprehensive survey exploring demographic characteristics, job-related factors, health status, and adverse childhood experiences.

Key Findings

Higher anxiety levels were associated with increased compassion fatigue, highlighting the need to address mental health among home visitors. Job satisfaction played a pivotal role, with higher satisfaction correlating with increased compassion satisfaction. However, lower overall job satisfaction linked to higher burnout levels. The study also highlighted the impact of personal factors, such as adverse childhood experiences, on home visitors’ well-being.

Implications for Practice

The study’s findings hold significant implications for the home visiting field. By addressing factors contributing to burnout and compassion fatigue, organizations can create a supportive work environment. Strategies such as regular supervision, professional development opportunities, and a healthy work atmosphere can mitigate burnout risk and enhance compassion satisfaction. Recognizing the impact of personal experiences, such as adverse childhood experiences, can inform interventions to support home visitors’ well-being.

This study’s publication represents a significant step forward in understanding and addressing the well-being of home visitors. By identifying their challenges and influential factors, we can take proactive measures to support and empower these vital professionals. Prioritizing home visitor well-being ensures the success and sustainability of home visiting programs, delivering high-quality care to families in need.

Congratulations, Dr. Ross and Dr. Rahman!


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