Organizational Compassion Fatigue

Linda Sage

hourglass-time-hours-sand-39396.jpeg   An organization suffers from Compassion Fatigue as well as their staff.  In today’s environment socially and the rising mentality of suing for a quick buck, puts everyone from caretakers to CEOs at risk; if Compassion fatigue is permitted to run rife in any establishment.

There are no quick fixes to healing an organization it takes time, patience, commitment at all levels and perseverance. An awareness of the far-reaching effects of Compassion Fatigue must be present at the highest level of management and work its way down to encompass line staff, as well as volunteers, or even better from the grassroots up; very often the coal face workers can give distant Senior Management some sound and solid ideas, that are cost-effective and efficient. The mistrust that employees feel towards management is not unfounded, as many staff do not have permanent contracts, even if they do, there is always the threats of cuts hanging over their heads.  As many caregiving institutions are non-profit, they have additional challenges such as low wages, lack of space, old or incorrect tools and resources, high management turnover rate, as well as a constant flow of unfamiliar staff, plus constantly shifting priorities.

None of which make any workday any easier, so the Compassion Fatigue cycle keeps in motion.

Organizational symptoms of Compassion Fatigue include:

  • Lack of understanding of corporate ethos or manifesto
  • Daily feeling of crisis management at all levels
  • Patient safety being compromised
  • Staff safety making them feel vulnerable or pressurized

Causing:

  • High absenteeism
  • Constant changes in co-workers relationships
  • Inability for teams to work well together
  • Desire among staff members to break company rules
  • Outbreaks of aggressive behaviors among staff
  • Inability of staff to complete assignments and tasks
  • Inability of staff to respect and meet deadlines
  • Lack of flexibility among staff members
  • Negativism towards management
  • Strong reluctance toward change
  • Inability of staff to believe improvement is possible
  • Lack of a vision for the future

The early any establishment realizes that changes need to be made and implement those guidelines, the safer everyone involved will be, your bottom line will prosper, staff health will improve and patient experience and care will be at a successful level. The savings in the long term being considerable, against the initial planning and outlay.

Caring for the caregiver

Linda Sage MA BA Ed(Hons)

www.lindasage.com

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