The Impact of Compassion Fatigue and Burnout Among Residential Care Workers on Client Care: Implications for Social Work Practice


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Kari L. Fletcher


The purpose of this study was to explore what factors contribute to burnout and compassion fatigue in a residential treatment setting, what factors may help to minimize risk for the development of compassion fatigue in a residential treatment setting, and how these two issues affect client care. This study utilized a mixed-methods design by sending out an online survey to two residential treatment centers serving youth with emotional and behavioral difficulties (n = 88). Descriptive statistics were used to identify participants compassion fatigue and burnout levels as well as better understand what symptoms of these two phenomena were most affecting participants as well as what factors they most contribute to the development of burnout and compassion fatigue. An open coding process was used on qualitative questions to better understand how burnout and compassion fatigue effect client care standards and what participants felt was needed to help mitigate burnout and compassion fatigue in their agencies. Five major themes emerged: quality of work; organizational needs; worker-client relationship; self-care; and, organizational support and incentives. These findings aligned with previous research, however they were able to add new information and depth to the already limited research out there on burnout and compassion fatigue in a residential treatment setting.


burnout, compassion fatigue, residential care, residential care workers

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.