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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Staff Turnover

June 2023 | Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

For people living in a group home or participating in day programs, the staff members often become like family. This is especially true if the person does not have other family involved in his life but is also true when the person’s family is still very involved. When a staff person leaves employment, it can be very much like a member of the family leaving. It can be quite traumatic for the adult with Down syndrome and cause feelings of grief and loss.

In chapter 3 of Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome, Dr. McGuire and I wrote:

We have often wondered what it would be like to have our families turn over every six months, which, in effect, is the situation in residential facilities with frequent staff turnover. It seems that we ask people with less intellectual ability to deal with greater change than most of the rest of us could cope with. The challenge is to create as much constancy in the “family” as possible, to appreciate the stress that occurs because of these changes, and to be supportive.

Our Resource Library has a visual story called When Staff Members Leave that explains why staff members may leave their job, how we might feel, and how to cope with the change. Our other resources on grief and loss may also be helpful when supporting an individual with Down syndrome after a staff member has left. 

Find More Resources

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our collection of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational materials.

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Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.