Compassion Fatigue and Social Care

Have you ever felt tired of caring? We’ve talked about burnout in the past chats now let’s talk about how and what is compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue is a condition which often occurs with healthcare professionals who provide direct care to individuals. It may be debilitating to these professionals both in terms of their personal lives and also professional lives. The warning signs of compassion fatigue will be discussed in order to provide awareness to individuals who work within the service field. Compassion fatigue may be a serious condition which needs to be identified and addressed so care may be given to the professionals and also reduce turnover rate which eventually leads to improved patient care.

 “The condition not only affects the ability to show compassion but also begins to show up in clinical care” (HMA, 2010 85).

This could occur through thoughts such as “It doesn’t matter what I do” or “I don’t make a difference”.  They may begin taking on the patient’s feelings and concerns as their own. This increased involvement can be particularly time-consuming if the healthcare professional has a lot of patients to provide care for.


Prolonged Exposure. Secondary. Traumatic Stress. Traumatic Recollections. Compassion. Fatigue. Degree of Life Disruption. Copyright, D.White 2010.

Compassion fatigue may progress to burnout which may result in the professional leaving their career. A warning sign for burnout could be the opposite of secondary stress. In some cases, they may no longer care about what happens to their patients.

I have heard of a case where the doctor who began to feel resentful that they are expected to complete all of the work. Exhaustion can also be a warning sign for the multiple theories of compassion fatigue. If a healthcare professional feels tired and drained most of the time they are not only able to physically do their job to its fullest capacity but they also may not be able to emotionally be available for their patients.

Having to take care of others can be a difficult job and in order to effectively complete these jobs, caregivers must have their needs met.

Let’s discuss over at #HealthXPh and collectively as a platform raise awareness on compassion fatigue and suggest ways in avoiding it on 12/9 at 9pm MLA/8am EST

T1- How would you define compassion fatigue in your own words?

T2- In your personal opinion what are the factors present today that leads to compassion fatigue? Share your story.

T3- How can we build our resilience to combat easily getting compassion fatigue leading to burnout?