Compassion Fatigue – Care Example

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"Compassion Fatigue" is a wonderful example of a paper on care. Compassion fatigue is considered as the process of a gradual reduction in compassion over a period of time. It is also considered as common among those who exclusively deal with the patients or victims of the traumatic history of events. Diagnosed for the first time during the 1950s in nurses, compassion fatigue often results in hopelessness, reduction in the appetite for pleasure, negative attitude as well as other symptoms which can be commonly found in the caregivers especially. Caregivers dealing specially with dependent patients can develop the tendency to have compassion fatigue which can ultimately result in abusive behavior towards such patients.

This tendency therefore can become one of the significant impediments in the professional conduct and progress of the healthcare service providers. Though under these conditions, the healthcare service providers may continue to provide their services however, their natural urge and tendency to provide the care as well as the compassion can decrease too. However, with the right tools and techniques, this could be averted and the caregivers can actually rehabilitate themselves to provide the same level of support and care to their patients.

As a part of the renewal process, the caregivers can actually recharge their batteries and renew themselves to revive their hopes and provide the same level of compassion and care to their patients. In this paper, the nature and extent of compassion fatigue will be discussed besides explaining the emotional, spiritual as well as physical needs of the caregivers besides discussing as to how the caregivers can actually cope with this. Compassion FatigueOver the period of time, as the healthcare services providers cope with the system and become regular in treating and caring for their customers, a tendency starts to develop in them which can result in strong physical, spiritual as well as emotional burnout for them.

Such type of tendency is called compassion fatigue in which the degree of our compassion and attachment with our patients gradually decline. Healthcare givers therefore can find it difficult to achieve a balance between empathy and objectivity. (Dwyer, 2006) It has often been argued that those who fall prey to compassion fatigue are often sucked into a vortex that continues to pull them down and sap the energy out of them.

The demands of managed care therefore are creating strong influences over the healthcare service providers to deliver a certain level of service to their patients and clients. However, as the interaction of the patients and healthcare givers increases, there emerges a tendency that can actually compromise the professional ability of the caregivers. (Jeffrey R. Funk, 2004) It is also important to note that compassion fatigue often results in certain emotional, spiritual as well as physical symptoms which can further compromise the ability of the caregivers to provide proper care services.

The emergence of feelings of hopelessness, negative attitude as well as feeling sick and tired may cause strong physical and emotional burnout for the caregivers. It is therefore critical that these needs of the caregivers are taken care of. Physical, Spiritual and Emotional Needs of the caregivers Caregiving can often become a 24 hrs job which can potentially sap the energy and will out of the caregivers. A typical caregiver spends most of his or her time to take care of the patients or dependents and resultantly develop symptoms that can be detrimental to his own health. One of the key physical symptoms of compassion fatigue is the lack of sleep which can start to take its toll on the body of the caregiver.

A sustained level of insomnia or sleeplessness therefore can result in significant physical health problems for the caregivers. It has been argued that the brain’ s frontal lobe depends upon adequate sleep and rest to perform effectively and in the absence of quality sleep, certain emotional responses or reactions could emerge too.

(Endicott, 2011) It is also important to understand that fatigue can also result in an increased vulnerability to the illness. A sustained level of fatigue therefore can often force the caregivers to even ignore what is actually happening with their own health. Compassion fatigue can also result in anxiety, anger as well as frustration where the healthcare service providers can often engage themselves in behaviors that may be considered entirely irresponsible or abnormal. This could happen mainly owing to the fact that caregivers often find a relatively short time to get proper time or become part of the duty which requires extensive attention all the time.

Hallucination, accusative behavior memory loss as well as detachment can emerge as a result of this fatigue. Conclusion and Coping Strategies Though compassion fatigue can be destructive and force the caregivers into something which can badly affect their own health, however, it is not entirely impossible to control. In order to successfully deal with compassion fatigue following coping strategies can be adapted: (Pfifferling, 2000) Spending quiet time alone and meditating can really help the caregivers to gather themselves up and provide a much-needed break to their thinking abilities.

Apart from this, it can also allow the caregivers an opportunity to reconnect with their spiritual source and develop inner peace and freedom to achieve a balance between their inner and outer self. It is therefore relatively important that caregivers must get time out of their busy schedule and practice mindfulness and give themselves a break. Recharge yourself with proper eating and sleeping besides following other techniques to get rest. Recharging oneself is considered as one of the most effective coping techniques to help develop the habits which can allow the caregivers to actually give attention to them. It is also suggested that the caregivers must hold one meaningful conversation with the persons to whom they believe might share their thoughts.

It is important that caregivers must spend quality time with their family and close friends to share their burden and unload themselves so that they can actually recharge themselves to cope with their jobs more effectively. The above discussion suggests that careful adoption of these techniques can result in a better ability to cope with compassion fatigue.


Dwyer, K. (2006, September). Fighting Caregiver Fatigue. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from Care Giver:

Endicott, L. (2011). Compassion Fatigue, Burnout & Stress. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from Brook Haven Hospital:

Jeffrey R. Funk. (2004). Balancing The Burdens Of Caregiving: Avoiding Compassion Fatigue. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from Hospital Chaplains' Ministry of America, Inc.:

Pfifferling, J.-H. (2000). Overcoming Compassion Fatigue. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from American Academy of Family Physicians.:

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