Background Compassion can be defined as the sensitivity to distress of self and others with a commitment to try and do something about it and prevent it. Compassionate care can positively influence staff efficiency, communication and patient and staff satisfaction by promoting person centred care. A compassionate workforce is vitally important to ensure that innovative practice and quality improvements succeed in meeting the challenges of modern healthcare (West et al., 2017). West et al. (2017) identify that compassionate leadership enhances the intrinsic motivation of staff and reinforces their fundamental values. It has been recognised that compassion within the workforce also creates a sense of safety and also develops a sense of empowerment and support. A key component of delivering compassionate care is empathy. Cole-King and Gilbert (2011) identified that a personal quality that influences someone’s capacity for empathy is self-compassion.
Methods With this in mind, the leadership team at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands focussed their efforts upon how best the workforce could be supported to facilitate compassionate care. A scoping exercise was carried out to build upon existing areas of good practice such as clinical supervision, morning debrief sessions for the night staff and Schwartz Rounds, and to make them robust. A gap analysis revealed that there were additional practices and skills that staff could apply to help build up their levels of self-compassion. The hospice is now working towards a weekly mindfulness session for staff, a weekly lunch time walking group, three minute mindfulness sessions before the start of meetings and the introduction of compassion circles. The latter has been adopted by other the local service providers, with the vision of developing a compassionate caring community.
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