The Latin root of the word “compassion” means “to suffer together.” To be compassionate, one must be able to relate to another person’s suffering and desire to help.
In the context of healthcare, the doctor, the patient and family, the clinical situation, and environmental and institutional variables are the four main domains that have an impact on compassion.
In recent times, the healthcare system has been compelled to rely on payment methods that favor procedures over wellness care due to its growing complexity, high cost, and legal and regulatory concerns. Additionally, the pandemic exhausted the medical staff.
In the post-pandemic era, we must seek to reestablish compassion as the cornerstone of health care institutions. This is true not just because compassion is essential but also because it is a legal requirement for professionals’ and patients’ rights.
The Transformative Power Of Compassion
The profound desire to help and relieve suffering appears to be the main characteristic distinguishing compassion from related prosocial behaviors like empathy, concern, and sympathy.
The capacity to comprehend another person’s viewpoint and share their feelings is a better definition of empathy. Contrarily, compassion arises when a desire to assist is combined with empathy.
Compassion can be broken down into five elements: recognizing suffering, realizing how pervasive human misery is, empathizing with the person experiencing it, enduring uncomfortable feelings, and being inspired to take action to put an end to their suffering.
Some of the primary reasons to practice and encourage compassion in healthcare are as follows:
1. Quicker Healing
Research has repeatedly shown that when caregivers demonstrate empathy and kindness to their patients, they heal faster. While medicine can cure, compassionate care can hasten the healing process and result in better patient and caregiver outcomes.
2. Overall Patient Well-being
Compassion, reassurance, and active listening assist patients in relaxing, lowering blood pressure, reducing pain, and recovering more quickly.
Furthermore, it helps to strengthen their immune system and reduce their cortisol levels, anxiety and stress. Eventually, the patient’s mental health and well-being improve.
3. Overall Healthcare Provider Well-being
According to studies, having compassion also leads to good outcomes for medical professionals. The job satisfaction and retention of compassionate doctors are typically better, and they experience less absenteeism, malpractice claims, and malpractice-related mistakes.
Furthermore, research suggests that there is an overlap between pleasure and compassion activation in physicians, which may counteract stress pathways resulting in the overall well-being of the physician.
Ways To Encourage Compassion:
A few ways to demonstrate compassion are to talk kindly to the patients, apologize when you’re wrong, listen intently and without passing judgment, offer emotional support, respond to patient queries, and forgive mistakes.
Apart from these, some more include:
1. Compassion Training
Incorporating workshops or seminars about the relevance of compassion in patient and physician welfare, teaching compassion-related skills, and providing practical training and resources to staff will encourage compassion among healthcare staff.
Medical associations like Imana offer resources to medical professionals and educational institutions who wish to learn more about providing the best care for their patients.
2. Medical Education
Young people studying to become medical professionals will be able to learn the value of compassion in patient care if compassion is included as a part of the medical education curriculum.
Related Resource: 9 Benefits Of Having A Master’s Degree In Nursing
3. More Research
More research in the area must be conducted to influence healthcare in the future and make a significant global impact.
One approach to get funding for research in critical areas, including patient care, clinical infrastructure (equipment and supplies), clinical staffing, and health advocacy and education, is to apply for grants like “Grant Medical Clinic” (Free Clinic Grants).
Compassion is critical to effective and sustainable healthcare environments. A touch, a listening ear, or an acknowledgment of a patient’s frustration or sorrow can improve the overall well-being of the patient and the healthcare provider.
May we remember to conduct our life by the Dalai Lama’s words, “Love and compassion are essentials, not extras. Humanity cannot thrive without them.”
Arnab is a passionate blogger. He shares sentient blogs on topics like current affairs, business, lifestyle, health, etc. If you want to read refulgent blogs so please follow RSL Online.