Providing Compassionate Healthcare: Challenges in Policy and Practice, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Providing Compassionate Healthcare

Challenges in Policy and Practice, 1st Edition

Edited by Sue Shea, Robin Wynyard, Christos Lionis


308 pages

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Despite the scope and sophistication of contemporary health care, there is increasing international concern about the perceived lack of compassion in its delivery. Citing evidence that when the basic needs of patients are attended to with kindness and understanding, recovery often takes place at a faster level, patients cope more effectively with the self-management of chronic disorders and can more easily overcome anxiety associated with various disorders, this book looks at how good care can be put back into the process of caring.

Beginning with an introduction to the historical values associated with the concept of compassion, the text goes on to provide a bio-psycho-social theoretical framework within which the concept might be further explained. The third part presents thought-provoking case studies and explores the implementation and impact of compassion in a range of healthcare settings. The fourth part investigates the role that organizations and their structures can play in promoting or hindering the provision of compassion. The book concludes by discussing how compassion may be taught and evaluated, and suggesting ways for increasing the attention paid to compassion in health care.

Developing a multi-disciplinary theory of compassionate care, and underpinned by empirical examples of good practice, this volume is a valuable resource for all those interesting in understanding and supporting compassion in health care, including advanced students, academics and practitioners within medicine, nursing, psychology, allied health, sociology and philosophy.


'This book was ‘inspired by the apparent need to restore humanity to healthcare’ and the contributing authors cover areas such as the concept of compassion, therapeutic approaches to compassion and the implementation and impact of compassion in healthcare. Each section deals clearly with the issues and most are illustrated with examples from practice or the authors’ own experiences. These examples show it is the small touches of humanity during a healthcare episode that can improve the experience of patients, carers and families. However, the authors don’t shy away from examining the failings in a number of healthcare systems around the world – indeed it is one of the book’s strengths that it includes examples from several countries with differing approaches to funding healthcare. The section that resonated most with me was on ‘organisational issues’. Most healthcare professionals are compassionate individuals and it was helpful to read about the risk factors that can lead to ‘compassion fatigue’…The book was easy to read and thought provoking – guiding the reader into examining their day-to-day practice and the organisational culture in which they practise.' – Janet Thomas, Frontline Magazine, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Table of Contents

Preface Ron Marsh Foreword Robin Youngson Introduction Sue Shea, Robin Wynyard and Christos Lionis Section 1: Introducing the Concept of Compassion 1. The Tangled Roots of Compassion: Historical Origins, Modern Day Reflections and Concerns Robin Wynyard 2. Compassion in Nursing History: Attending to the Patient’s Basic Human Needs with Kindness Ann Bradshaw Section 2: Theoretical and Therapeutic Approaches to Compassion 3. Empathy, Stress and Compassion: Resonance Between the Caring and the Cared George Chrousos 4. Who Cares for the Carers? Keeping Compassion Alive in Care Systems, Cultures and Environments: A Psychologically-Minded Approach Martin Seager 5. Experiential Learning and Compassionate Care: Encouraging Changes in Values, Beliefs, and Behaviour Craig Brown 6. Compassionate Care: The Theory and the Reality Alys Cole-King and Paul Gilbert 7. Compassionate Journeys and End-Of-Life Care Sue Shea Section 3: The Implementation and Impact of Compassion in Healthcare 8. Encouraging a Focus on Compassionate Care within General Practice/Family Medicine Christos Lionis and Sue Shea 9. Care, Compassion and Ideals: Patient and Health Care Providers’ Experiences Jill Maben 10. Improving the Quality of Life of People with Dementia: A Playful Compassionate Approach from the Hearts & Minds ‘Elderflowers’ Magdalena Schamberger 11. Compassionate Care of Patients with Diabetes Mellitus Stathis Papavasiliou 12. The Health Impact of Financial Crisis: Omens of a Greek Tragedy Kentikelenis et al Section 4: Organisational Issues 13. How Good People Can Offer Bad Care: Understanding the Wider Factors in Society That Encourage Non-Compassionate Care Valerie Iles 14. Current Initiatives for Transforming Organizational Cultures and Improving the Patient Experience Susan Frampton and Joanna Goodrich 15. Understanding and Protecting Against Compassion Fatigue Adelais Markaki Section 5: Concluding Section 16. Can Compassionate Care be Taught? Experiences from the Leadership in Compassionate Care Programme, Edinburgh Napier University & NHS Lothian Liz Adamson and Stephen Smith Conclusion Sue Shea, Robin Wynyard and Christos Lionis Glossary

About the Editors

Sue Shea is a Psychologist and Researcher working with the University of Crete, Greece, and as an independent consultant with various UK institutions.

Robin Wynyard is Visiting Research Fellow in Education at the University of Derby, UK.

Christos Lionis is Professor of General Practice and Director of the Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, University of Crete, Greece.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Health and Social Policy

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HEALTH & FITNESS / Health Care Issues
MEDICAL / Caregiving
MEDICAL / Health Care Delivery