Will an in-Service Training on Awareness of Compassion Fatigue Increase the Importance of Self-Care amongst Patient-Centered Hospice Staff?

Publication Date


Document Type



Social Work


Kathyrn Conley Wehrmann

Mentor Department

Social Work


Those who have constant direct contact with hospice patients are regularly exposed to seeing the ravaging effects of various terminal illnesses in many aspects of a patient's life, including death, as well as the effects of the illness and death on patient caregivers. As patient-centered care professionals in the hospice field strive to put their clients' needs and requests ahead of all else, they may experience a wearing down in many aspects: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, commonly known as compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is defined as "a deep physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion accompanied by acute emotional pain" (Alkema, Linton, & Davies, 2008). Compassion fatigue can also be characterized by the "adverse psychological outcomes associated with the stress of helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person" (West, 2015). A factor that can help alleviate the risk of compassion fatigue and its sudden onset is self-care. The goal of this study is to measure the effect of a brief training on participant knowledge related to compassion fatigue and self-care. The participants for the training and evaluation will include ten to twenty patient-centered hospice workers, (nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, and chaplains). A pre-test post-test design and mixed methods approach will be used.



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