Risks found among care populations - Sarz Sanctuary and Foundation
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Understanding Compassion Fatigue
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Risks found among care populations

The Absence of Self Care

An absence of self care is emphasised as a substantial risk for compassion fatigue and a decline in self care correlated with an increase in compassion fatigue in populations of care professionals.

The Level of Education

The level of education for the care professional has been identified as a risk factor for compassion fatigue.  In a study of 132 nurses in an Australian tertiary hospital, the care professional’s level of education was found to be a risk factor for increasing anxiety. Increased anxiety was found to be a significant contributor to compassion fatigue.

Experience Working with Clients

Lower levels of experience among care professionals working with trauma was found to correlate with lower levels of compassion satisfaction and higher levels of anxiety which has been positively associated with compassion fatigue.  

Higher levels of compassion satisfaction were present among those with higher levels of experience.  High levels of compassion satisfaction is amplified as a protective factor to reduce the risk of compassion fatigue.

Personal and Professional Resilience

Resilience is widely acknowledged as a potential moderator of compassion fatigue. The development of resilience assessed in a pilot study of a program with 13 oncology nurses attained a reduction in secondary trauma scores that were sustained six months following the program.

Level of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence; emotion awareness and emotion management of self emotions and others, is a positive moderator of stress and has been found to reduce the risk of compassion fatigue.

Prior History of Trauma

A previous history of trauma may expose care professionals to greater risk for compassion fatigue particularly if it is a negative life event that remains unresolved, increasing vulnerability to compassion fatigue.

The Absence of Social Support

The absence of social support, debriefing and supervision has been reported as risk factors among many care professional populations. 

The Case Load and Intensity 

The case load and intensity of one’s case load has been reported to elevate the risk of compassion The case load and intensity of one’s case load has been reported to elevate the risk of compassion fatigue.

Level of Compassion Satisfaction

The level of compassion satisfaction experienced by the care professional may have a negative or positive influence on compassion fatigue.  Low compassion satisfaction has been found to correlate with higher compassion fatigue and high compassion satisfaction has been found across care populations to be a protective factor, reducing the risk of compassion fatigue.

Risks