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The term compassion fatigue refers to a medical state characterized by a gradual decrease of kindness over time from the professional health care workers; who mostly deal with trauma victims. It is a state of physical anguish, emotional throbbing, and spiritual fatigue. This problem was first detected in nurses in the early 1950s.
The compassion fatigue mostly affects caregivers; these workers try to work in care taking environments that give heart breaking, and emotional challenges. This condition is also known as a secondary traumatic stress disorder. Caregivers to needy people can also suffer the condition. However, even attorneys dealing with victims of trauma sometimes go through this fatigue.
The nature of the problem and its causes
Compassion fatigue signs are common displays of persistent stress ensuing from care giving vocations. The common signs that one is suffering from the disorder are hopelessness, a decline in experience of enjoyment, continuous stress and fretfulness, and persistent unconstructive feelings. These conditions have detrimental effects on the affected individuals; both professionally and personally. This affect their productivity in work and affect social interaction with people; especially their loved ones.
Possible causes of this condition include a caretaker being overwhelmed by marks of pain from a patient, which he cannot cope up with. Certain people are adversely affected by witnessing trauma and this can result to compassion fatigue. Paying attention to stories of child/adult maltreatment or working with suicidal ideas. Intermingling with fatally ill individuals or caring for families with dying individuals. In some scenarios, working in the animal care area can cause the disorder (Marchand, 2009).
Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual needs of the caregiver/healthcare giver
The health care giver should be able to recognize the power of his/her trauma incidences. They should be able to learn to recognize compassion fatigue signs in themselves or on co-workers, and extensively educate themselves about the disorder. These are valuable measures of staying healthy and effective in their jobs (Erika, 2002).
Sometimes compassion to trauma victims can cause emotional stress to the healthcare giver, so it should be checked. Health professional should have good relationship with colleagues or therapist whom they can trust when faced with emotional stress. This is a quick way of solving or preventing the condition from worsening.
Some symptoms of compassion fatigue are suicidal; these kinds of signs need spiritual and emotional approach to treat or prevent. Sometime it calls for a little ritual at the end of the day to overcome spiritually the problem.
Coping Strategies, resources for help, and hope for the caregiver
Kindness is a human feeling allowing empathy with others; it makes caregivers prone to secondary traumatic stress disorder. Since this condition affect people physically, psychologically, and socially. Coping approach must tackle the three states. Physical approach is based on keeping one health in shape such as eating and exercising well, having ample sleep, and involving in recreation activities that relax muscle tensions (Anglada, November 17, 2010).
Psychological approach involves putting mind and emotions at rest. This can be achieved through having leisure moments, get in touch with natural world, and balancing work and personal time. Social approach involves creation of rapport with colleagues, friends, and seeking professional assistance and activism.
Resources for help; these are professionals such therapist, colleagues, and friends, Recreation facilities, entertainment provisions, and medication. Counseling and spiritual nourishment also play a role in emotional rest. In work environment organization should ensure they provide adequate facilities to handle these problems. Entertainment and recreations that allow one to shift their energy from stress related to a constructive one is highly recommended. There is hope for the caregiver; compassion fatigue is preventable and treatable.
Compassion fatigue affects many people who involve in care giving to either people or animals. Keeping ones health and body in shape is a health check that caregivers need to take into accounts. Having adequate rest and sleep, taking necessary break when work is stressing is advisable. Caregivers need to seek medical intervention when disorder symptoms start to exhibit. When identified early and one seek help, it is preventable and treatable.