The Very Real Danger of Compassion Fatigue in Long-Term Care

The Very Real Danger of Compassion Fatigue in Long-Term Care

Compassion is key to providing quality care to nursing home residents. It helps create a connection between provider and patient, and ensures residents are treated appropriately with dignity. Unfortunately, it can be hard to maintain the necessary level of compassion when faced with an overwhelming number of tasks each shift. The result is compassion fatigue, a potentially dangerous situation that can compromise the quality of care.

Signs There Is a Problem

While each caregiver experiences fatigue differently, some of the most obvious signs there is a problem include:

  • Apathy toward patients
  • Overreaction to common situations or minor incidents
  • Obsession on the part of a caregiver, particularly over a patient’s death
  • Frequent anger or unusual levels of irritability

Causes of Burnout

Many factors contribute to compassion fatigue. Among the most prominent of these is the continuously high level of stress in long-term care industry. Losing a patient can also be a trigger, particularly if there was a close relationship between the provider and the patient. 

How To Avoid Compassion Fatigue

While burnout is inevitable for some providers, support from management and supervisory staff, access to appropriate resources, and allowing opportunities sot grieve can help foster a healthy work environment.

Burnout is common in long-term care settings. Recognizing signs early and providing a supportive environment can help keep it from becoming a problem.