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Compassion Fatigue

Empathy is a noble quality but it has its negative consequences when it backfires and the caregiver is left with the other person’s pain, resulting in emotional exhaustion and sometimes anger, according to Tim Jarvis (Mindwise, 9/009). There is a growing concern among physicians and counselors, who refer to this as compassion fatigue.

Since there are millions of people who become caregivers, Dr. Phillip Muskin, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, says the most important way to prevent compassion fatigue is to recognize that it can occur. Caring for yourself may seem like a low priority while trying to care for another--but it’s essential for the patient. “Knowing that someone is crying for you and feeling your pain, “says Muskin, “really is therapeutic.”

Caregiver Survival Tools

Editorial provided by William Blacker, CCM, NHA, CO-OWNER OF Home Instead Senior Care of Bucks County, and a Certified Geriatric Care Manager.

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