Compassion Fatigue

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Compassion Fatigue Article Summary

The past year has been exceptionally hard on healthcare professionals. With so much going on, it’s only understandable that many are battling compassion fatigue. Given the nature of the job, healthcare professionals can’t afford to deal with compassion fatigue, especially in a time where their services are as important as ever. Understanding what causes compassion fatigue and how you can battle it can save our frontline superstars who we desperately need to battle this pandemic. Here is everything you need to know about compassion fatigue and how telehealth services can help.

What Is Compassion Fatigue?

Merriam Webster defines compassion as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” For many healthcare workers, compassion is the reason they chose the profession. But what happens when you stop feeling compassion? A recent Atlantic article went into further detail about this phenomenon known as compassion fatigue.
The author of the article, Chavi Eve Karkowsky, noted, “A lot of us went to work every day because the world needs to keep turning, and in that time, we were the ones turning it.” Karkowsky continued, “Many others left medicine. One reason I didn’t was that humans needed help, and I could provide it. But, I also kept working because I needed to believe that if I was ever in danger, other humans would come to help me. Our comparative advantage as humans is that we can take care of one another and overcome adversity together.”

How Bad Is It?

COVID-19 has taken over 600,000 American lives. Even for those who took the Hippocratic Oath and dedicated their lives to caring for and healing others, this can take a toll. Beyond watching the horrors of the pandemic play out in front of them while working with patients, many healthcare professionals got sick themselves, sent their families away to stay safe, or lost their jobs entirely.

Humans are resilient, but we weren’t built to handle the amount of emotional and physical trauma healthcare professionals have had to endure over the past year. It’s no wonder that nurses and other healthcare workers have left their jobs in droves. Take Centilia Hospital in Bakersfield, California, for example. The hospital reportedly lost 226 nurses in 2020 alone, about half of the total number currently working at the hospital. This compassion fatigue and burnout strain the remaining workforce and the patients themselves, who desperately need care.

The Devastating Side-Effects of Compassion Fatigue

We need our healthcare workers. In fact, because of them, our situation isn’t worse than it already is. Unfortunately, the system failed them. As a whole, we were not prepared for a pandemic of this scale. We have learned a lot about how we can combat the illness itself, but we’re still struggling to combat the emotional toll the pandemic has taken.

Then healthcare workers lose that sense of compassion, it becomes difficult to relate to a patient. In the medical field, nothing is more important than this connection. A loss of compassion can diminish the quality of care. This begs the question of whether or not there is a way to stoke the fire that pushed these incredible minds to run through eight long years of college and medical school and then on to residency for their chosen specialty before the light goes out completely?
What can we do to address the trauma and bring the light back into their eyes and the compassion back into their hearts?
What can we do to keep these highly skilled and trained professionals from leaving medicine altogether?

Telemedicine Services to Combat Compassion Fatigue

Telehealth services have boomed in popularity over the past year. Overloading the system is a big reason for this. Telehealth services allow practitioners to check on their patients from the safety of their homes or offices. This benefits both the patient and the doctor, as they don’t have to expose themselves to the virus.

On top of that, telehealth services allow practitioners to handle more clients at once. Non-critical-care patients require less attentive care than others. Telehealth services allow practitioners to better manage their patients both from inside the hospital and outside.


Schedule a Complimentary Discovery Call

If you think telehealth services can help your hospital battle compassion fatigue, reach out to our team at Horizon Virtual. We can review your telehealth services for free. Contact us today to find out what it is we can do for you.

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Horizon Virtual Flips the Conventional Staffing Process Upside Down

By providing a full-time off-site hospitalist, your staff can quickly and seamlessly off-load their patients to us anytime during contracted hours, which will allow primary care doctors to decompress and enjoy their morning, afternoon, or night without interruption. This greatly lowers the pressures placed on these providers and reduces stress and fatigue. It also shows commitment to their health from a Hospital’s leadership. When they return, they can be confident that the notes will be up to date and accurate with the developed treatment plan. Our service platforms are a proven means to reduce patient transfers because we provide large hospital expertise on-site to the remote location. Patients are admitted quickly with our telehealth solution provider, as our response times connect us to the patient within minutes. Quick access to diagnostics supports better patient outcomes and better treatment plans. The bottom-line impact is apparent, Telemedicine Hospitalists, also called a Doctor on Demand, are cost-effective and will show improvements on the bottom line immediately after implementation.

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