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Concepts of compassion fatigue (Essay Sample)


In 1,250-1500 words, summarize your findings. Be sure to include the following: Identify the warning signs for at least five concepts of compassion fatigue. Present the nature of the problems and their causes. Explain the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the caregiver. Finally, give examples of coping strategies and resources you can use to help you, the caregiver. Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required. This assignment uses a grading rubric. Instructors will be using the rubric to grade the assignment; therefore, students should review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the assignment criteria and expectations for successful completion of the assignment. THIS PAPER USES A GRADING RUBIN AND GOES THROUGH TURN IT IN THAT CHECKS FOR PLAGIARISM. ALSO ARTICLE HAVE TO COME FROM GCU LIBRARY WITH A PERMALINK AS A REQUIREMENT FOR FULL POINT. PLEASE CALL ME FOR ACCESS CODE INTO GCU LIBRARY FOR REFERENCES.


Concepts of compassion fatigue
Many workers in the helping and caring professions are witnesses to their clients or patient’s trauma and troubles. Their work entails caring for other people, and many find themselves taking on the pain of those they care for. With the images of the patient’s trauma and pain, continual feelings of care and empathy with disregard to personal emotional and physical needs can be detrimental. Caring for and helping out suffering and / or traumatized people may result in compassion fatigue. Witnessing life threatening illnesses, bereavement, impending death or sudden traumatic death are part of the experiences of workers in the health / caring industry. The pain patients go through is witnessed firsthand and this is always not good for workers psychology. (Showalter, 2010 pp. 239). Health workers are extremely vulnerable to emotional and physical fatigue. This paper explores the nature and causes this phenomenon. Examples of coping strategies to be used by the caregiver will be addressed.
Cathy Gilmore defines compassion fatigue as "Emotional, physical, social and spiritual exhaustion that overtakes a person and causes a pervasive decline in his or her desire to, ability and energy to feel and care for others" (Gilmore, 2012). Apathy is lack of concern, feeling, interest or emotions. When the caregiver has given so much care and attention to the patient and all emotional reserves get used up, the caregiver may turn uncaring since the emotional resource has not been replenished. The psychological part of the caregiver becomes emotionless. He or she no longer finds pleasure in work and sees the work as a burden. Feelings of inadequacy, internal turmoil and lack of accomplishment take over. Concentration with work often decreases and productivity plummets. This trends usually leads to absenteeism, tardiness and may culminate in job termination due to complains from colleagues
Physical exhaustion and tiredness is also another symptom of fatigue. Physical rest and exercise are important, and when a worker goes for long without them he is bound to face physical exhaustion. The body eventually becomes exhausted. Insomnia, irritability and fatigue set in due to physical exhaustion. Chronic physical ailments like back pains or stomach upsets that may result into sick days are also symptoms of compassion fatigue (Gilmore, 2012).
A caregiver needs to have his or her emotional equilibrium and resources restored and replenished. People are ridden with expectations in life, at work and at home. These expectations and demands can overwhelm. Combined with the duty of caring for other people, ever rising productivity demands in environments with decreasing personnel, the perfect recipe for emotional exhaustion is made. Isolation, hostility towards others, excessively blaming and withdrawal from others occurs. At this moments, they over-react to even the smallest of issues, become paranoid and have difficulty working with a team. (Showalter, 2010 pp. 239).
Compassion fatigue also leads to impaired judgment by the caregiver. The person may ignore the problem, look for easy answers, self-medicate or even have unrealistic expectations. (Showalter, 2010 pp. 239). These decisions are mostly an attempt to cope with the stress or to take their mind off the stress. For instance, one becomes a workaholic by working longer, over or under-eating, drinking and smoking or simply over-indulging in activities they deem suitable to reduce their stress.
The feeling of sadness and hopelessness also signals compassion fatigue. Lack of self-worth, purpose, joy and feeling of inadequacy are symptoms of depression. Job expectations, coupled up with off the job activity like family life, social life among others may overwhelm the caregiver and introduce depression. The caregiver may turn uncharacteristically angry and negative (Showalter, 2010). Lack of confidence and low self-esteem are also amplified. These symptoms if not acted on immediately are known to make victims contemplate or even act on suicidal notions.
When the caregiver has given so much care and attention to the patient and all emotional reserves get used up, the caregiver may turn uncaring since the emotional resource has not been replenished. The caregiver becomes emotionless. He or she no longer finds pleasure in work and sees the work as a burden. Feelings of inadequacy, internal turmoil and lack of accomplishment take over. This is when the caregiver becomes filled with apathy or lack of concern, feelings, interest or emotions.
Needs of the caregiver
It is highly probable that at one point in the discourse of their duties, caregivers will experience some sort of compassion fatigue. This is why it is important that they need to be maintained. A caretaker is supposed to find and identify their own coping mechanisms and find a balance between their physical and mental health. Sufficient body, mind and soul rest should be sought. Caregivers should think about their wellbeing too (Showalter, 2012). Caregivers should also be cared for so as to also feel loved. They should find time to replenish their emotional reserves, by having someone else take their place for a while. Being cared for or having some time off is refreshing and also reminds the caregiver that they also are important. They need the care and attention they so much offer their patients, in the same quantities, so as to avoid complete depletion. A caregiver should pray, meditate and engage in their spiritual practices and rituals so as to replenish themselves spiritually. The caregiver therefore has to respect, care and always put themselves first to avoid or reduce their vulnerability to compassion fatigue. They should learn to say "NO" to maintain personal / professional balance (Showalter, 2012 pp. 241). This ensures that their ability to give help and care is not eroded. Professional caregivers have to learn to live a balanced life by allowing their professional life to enhance their personal life, avoid compromising their wellbeing, and periodically conducting honest self-reflection. (Showalter 2012)
A research written by Christina S Mevin examining the effect of caring for dying patients on nurses contains preferred coping methods by the employees. The list of copying methods were contributed by nurses working in an environment that renders them vulnerable to the effects of compassion fatigue. Since these coping strategies were, and are being used by the participants in the research, they, coupled with others, can be used to deal with compassion fatigue
The first method entails setting of professional boundaries by the worker in order to maintain their ability to work. It helps them preserve themselves and enables them be able to continue their work. Talking to colleagues, reflection and physical exercise, supportive partners and supervisors are also methods lauded as hig...
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