Preventing carer burnout: Inter-Mission Care and Rehabilitation Society (IMCARES)

Burnout is not a single event but a process in which everyday stresses and anxieties that are not addressed gradually undermine carers mental and physical health, so that eventually caregiving and personal relationships suffer. Burnout is the fi nal stage in the stress process when everything falls apart. As a medical condition, burnout has no clear defi nition, but as a psychological condition it has been well defi ned and is increasingly recognized by people in the caring professions. Burnout has long been identifi ed as a crucial issue in HIV care and support; yet there is relatively little known about what measures can be taken to prevent or mitigate it.This document looks at how carer burnout can be avoided. It focuses on the approach used by a faith-based organization, IMCARES, Mumbai, India, to care for their staff and volunteers employed in their programmes and as carers in the community. Their strategy and practice may provide useful lessons in caring for carers for both secular and faith-based organizations working with people living with and affected by HIV.

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