Is compassion a “given” in healthcare delivery?  In a recent study of 800 recently hospitalized patient and 510 physicians, researchers reported only 53% of patients and 58% percent of physicians said that the health system generally provides compassionate care.

One of our primary focuses on improving the patient experience has been providing tips and tools to script and standardize the dialogue and interaction between the caregiver and the patient. Therefore, we can script our way through registration, room admission, hourly rounding as well as daily tasks to care for the patient. It could be possible to regurgitate a script without ever looking at a patient and showing care, concern, empathy, kindness and encouragement through even a facial expression.

In one of my recent workshop discussions about being “in the moment” with a patient, one of the attendees shared what worked for her was being attentive enough to identify and recall the color of a patient’s eyes.  This focused activity helped her slow down and insure the patient saw the love in her face.

There are many barriers to practicing compassion in the workplace. Technology, time, push for efficiencies, communication styles, professional distance and power and organizational culture can all play a part in preventing compassionate interactions.

Can your staff define compassion?

Does your staff know the difference between compassion and service?

How do you “hard-wire” your brain for  empathy?

Do your patient interactions tend to be task – driven or focused on comfort?

How does the absence of compassion impact the perception of care and concern?

What can you do to be in the compassionate moment with the patient – to show the care, love, and concern you have for their well-being and comfort through the healing process?

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