Compassion in care – 3 ways to help staff be more compassionate

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 Compassion in care- Bank Partners

There are some values that are universal across professional care standards and codes of conduct. If you ask any of our bank workers why they got into the industry, what made them want to join the NHS, why they get up in the morning even, the answer would ultimately be: ‘Because I care’

What is compassion in care?

It can often be hard to define or describe what compassion in care looks like, whether you work in a healthcare setting or not. It could be a word of encouragement, an understanding smile, a listening ear or an unhurried staff member willing to answer all your questions and take as much time as you need.

It is deeply embedded in the codes of conduct at NHS trusts and in the professional standards of all healthcare roles.

‘Compassion in Practice – One Year On (2016)’ defines compassion in care as:

“How care is given through relationships based on empathy, respect and dignity – it can also be described as intelligent kindness, and is central to how people perceive their care.”

So how can staff show compassion in care?

Allowing staff the opportunity to show this intelligent kindness within their role is proven to lead to increased patient satisfaction, staff morale and clinical effectiveness. Often the reason staff feel they are not able to fully embrace it in their role is due to ‘lack of time’ and ‘lack of support from senior management’.

However, there are a number of ways staff can be encouraged and supported to allow them to show compassion. Here are our top three ways:

  1. Intentional Rounding – A practical method trialled in wards and hospitals as part of the King’s Fund’s The Point of Care programme  (2007-13), intentional rounding involves visiting patients before they buzz for help.
  2. Nurses visit every patient’s bedside hourly to see if they need anything and check how they are doing. Not only does this show compassion by anticipating need but if also means that nurses will be able to see changes in behaviour more easily as they will know the patients better.

  3. Schwartz Rounds -The Point of Care Foundation describes Schwartz Rounds as a “structured forum where all staff, clinical and non-clinical, come together regularly to discuss the emotional and social aspects of working in healthcare”.
  4. Used in more than 100 NHS trusts (mainly in acute settings but also in community, mental health and ambulance situations) they are designed to help understand the challenges and rewards involved in providing good patient care. Giving staff the time to reflect on their role in a group setting will help them feel less isolated and stressed and increase insight into the roles of others. The idea behind this being that in order to provide compassionate care, staff must feel supported by those they work with.

  5. Hello My Name Is -The Hello My Name Is campaign was founded by an inspirational doctor with terminal cancer called Kate, and her husband Chris.
  6. They began the campaign on the belief that something as simple as reminding staff to introduce themselves to patients is the first step to providing compassionate care. Putting patients at ease by building that connection can help them feel more confident in their decisions and really put them at the centre of their own care.

    Since Kate passed away, Chris has continued their work as part of her legacy. He continues to campaign for keeping the patient at the heart of decisions and making sure they are seen as people, not just bed numbers.

If you’d like to see more ways care environments can give their staff the chance to show compassion visit the Point of Care Foundation

Are you using any of these in your current role? What does compassion in care mean to you? We’d love to hear your thoughts so let us know in the comments below!

Here at Bank Partners we support our staff to ensure they are able to do their roles to the best of their ability. If you’d like to join one of our staff banks you can see all the trusts in the Bank Partners family here.

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