Combating Compassion Fatigue

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Running Head: Combating Compassion Fatigue

Combating Compassion Fatigue

Raynell Giron

Grand Canyon University

HLT 310V

Sep. 29th, 2012

Combating Compassion Fatigue

This writer will define and identify the keys components to compassion fatigue. This writer will also expound upon the warning signs of compassion fatigue and some interventions that can be put into place by the care giver to help avoid compassion fatigue. This writer will further give some helpful coping skills that can be used to manage compassion fatigue and the resources a care giver can turn too in the event they experience compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue has been defined as a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion associated with caring for patients in significant emotional pain and physical distress (Anewalt, 2009). It can also include depression, apathy, and impaired judgement. It is considered a unique form of burnout that affects individuals in care giving roles (Lombardo, 2011). While compassion fatigue can sometimes be precipitated by burn out, that is not always the case. Burn out is defined as “a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced accomplishments that can occur among individuals who do ‘people work’ of some kind” (Maslach & Jackson, 1986, p.1). While the symptoms of both are similar, the warning signs differ greatly.

Some of the warning signs a care giver may be experiencing compassion fatigue include work-related symptoms, physical symptoms, and emotional symptoms (Lombardo, 2011). Some of the work related symptoms may include avoidance or dread of working with certain patients, reduced ability to feel empathy towards patients or families, frequent use of sick days, and lack of joyfulness (Lombardo, 2011). Some of the physical warning signs include headaches, digestive problems, inability to sleep, insomnia, too much sleep,...
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