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Combating Compassion Fatigue - Essay Example

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Combating Compassion Fatigue

Work related signs of compassion fatigue include frequent absenteeism from work, reduced empathy towards the patients and avoidance in dealing with certain patients. Serious signs of compassion fatigue include feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, gastrointestinal complaints, and hypertension (Miller, 2012). Physical exhaustion that is also referred as burnout is an initial sign of compassion fatigue. Some signs of physical exhaustion include irritability, feelings of anxiety and excessive emotional numbness. Other signs that accompany burnout include difficulty in sleeping and reduced empathy. Some causes of burnout include the attitudes towards work such as the caregiver’s beliefs and attitudes towards the complex patients and lack of peer support (Hayes, 2009). This phase is usually preceded by idealism whereby the caregiver is always committed to working hard with little time for relaxation. The caregiver usually accepts many responsibilities and forms close relationships with peers. The physical exhaustion is evidenced by both emotional and behavioral symptoms of the caregiver. The emotional signs include a decline in the sense of accomplishment while behavioral signs include withdrawal from responsibilities and alcohol abuse (Figley, 2002). The second concept of compassion fatigue is characterized by emotional exhaustion. Some warning signs include unreasonable expectations, and lack of emotional control whereby the caregiver is easily frustrated by lack of money or difficult patients (Figley, 2002). The caregiver usually experiences nightmares, and increased psychological arousal that leads to grief and sadness. Some other visible signs include changes in assumptions, decline in intimacy and detachment from social groups (Figley, 2002). The other concept of compassion fatigue is apathy which is the lack of interests or concern for patients or family members. The caregiver usually feels hopeless and isolated from the rest of society (Miller, 2012). The caregiver will exhibit an active avoidance of all care giving situations and emotional disengagement even towards close relatives like spouses. The fourth concept of compassion fatigue for caregivers is depression. This is mainly caused by traumatic memories. Some warning signs of depression include constant memory flashbacks of traumatic events, feeling cynical, difficulties in sleeping and irritability of the caregiver (Figley, 2002). The last concept of compassion fatigue for caregivers is impaired judgment (Miller, 2012). Some warning signs for impaired judgment of the caregiver include constant absenteeism from work, low self-esteem and avoiding attending to difficult patients. Physical exhaustion and emotional disillusionment coupled with negative attitudes towards work will contribute to impaired judgment of the caregiver. The long-term effects of compassion fatigue include drug and alcohol abuse, diminished sense of personal accomplishments and reduced sense of personal control and safety (Figley, 2002). The caregiver may also experience somatic symptoms such as sweating, pains, headaches, and impaired immune system (Hayes, 2009). Some of causes of physical exhaustion include stressful work whereby the caregiver tries to accomplish many roles within limited resources. Other causes include ...Show more

Summary

Combating Compassion fatigue Name: University: Combating Compassion fatigue Introduction Compassion fatigue is a burnout which is evidenced by physical, spiritual and emotional exhaustion. Compassion fatigue disorder has escalated over the past years since caregivers have do more paperwork, have lesser autonomy and have to negotiate various contracts with patients (Figley, 2002)…
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