Compassion in health and social care is what we might commonly call a ‘given’. It is assumed and expected as a basic common courtesy. So why do we need to Develop a Culture of Compassionate Care ? Some might think that they are already doing it but this is dangerous to assume and every time we hear of another unnecessary death in health and social care we are reminded to stop and think about what we really are doing.
Unfortunately we only really recognise compassion when it is not there, otherwise known as compassion fatigue or burnout when people feel they can no longer cope with a situation. This can be observed when people back away, detach themselves, ignore and/or deny that there may be a problem. Being cheerful and even friendly is not going to help in this situation as it is just another form of denial. In order to demonstrate compassion then we need to demonstrate that we are genuinely involved in helping others and that we want to spend time with them for as long as it takes. Being compassionate doesn’t mean feeling sorry for another person or demonstrating pity as this can come across as paternalistic. People who are in need of our help intuitively recognise a compassionate person as someone who really listens to what they have to say and is prepared to do something that will help them to deal with the situation. If we really care about compassion we would be looking for ways to demonstrate it – every day of our lives.