CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 24

Compassionate Care Cultivating the Art and Science of Compassionate Care BY MARY BETH NEWMAN, MSN, RN-BC, CCM, CHCQM C ompassionate care, just like case management, is both an art and a science that requires finding the perfect balance within this dichotomy. As professional case managers, we often think of compassionate care as an art that is intrinsic to effective caregiving, something that is dependent on our communication and interpersonal skills as well as our inner drive to "do good" for those who are in need of help. However, the science of compassion has not been well known until recently. Understanding this new scientific perspective helps validate compassionate care as a fundamental value guiding our practice. Compassionate care is a rapidly growing field of research in healthcare. A body of scientific evidence has accumulated and demonstrates that compassionate care is associated with better health outcomes, greater adherence to prevention and treatment recommendations, fewer medical errors, lower costs and enhanced patient and family experiences with health care (Post, 2011). In fact, research has validated that patients who are treated compassionately beneļ¬t from improved quality of care, better health, fewer medical errors, and a deeper human connection with their caregivers (Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, 2015). Given the correlation between compassionate care and improved clinical, financial, and patient experience outcomes, it becomes clear that we need to understand how to cultivate compassionate care in practice. As case managers, we inherently know that effective care coordination is central to everything we do. We also know at the heart of our practice is a foundation and framework of patient-centered care. Focusing on these two priority areas- care coordination and patient-centered care- definitely requires compassionate care to be understood and practiced. human connection and caring in response to distress and suffering" (Lown, 2014). This definition clearly highlights the role of connection and caring- two key attributes of human relationships. This is key because effective case management is all about good relationship building! For true engagement and patient-centered care to occur, there must be a dynamic partnership grounded in a shared understanding of patient preferences, needs and values. But to better appreciate what compassionate care means in everyday healthcare, we need to understand what it means from the patient's point of view. The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care is a national nonprofit committed to fostering compassionate care in healthcare. In 2014, the Schwartz Center conducted a series of consumer focus groups to learn how patients think about compassionate care and what aspects of compassionate care are most important to them. From the patient's point of view, the most important elements of compassionate care were: * Showing respect for you and your family. * Treating you as a person, not just a disease. * Listening attentively to you. * Conveying information in a way you can understand. * Always involving you in decisions about your care. It's no surprise that that these elements are exactly the values and actions that drive delivery of patient-centered care! Compassionate care can be achieved only if all members of the care teams and all organizational leaders understand that compassionate care is an essential ingredient of patient-centered care. Given the importance of compassionate care for health and well-being, it's essential that we fully understand its impact on the success of new and evolving models of healthcare delivery that require a foundation of patient-centered care. UNdERStaNdiNg CoMpaSSioNatE CaRE thE SCiENCE oF CoMpaSSioNatE CaRE So what is compassionate care? Compassion has been defined as a "universal expression of Some amazing work has been achieved in mapping the science of compassion. 24 CMSA TODAY Issue 6 * 2016 Neuroscientific research has shown that when we experience the feelings that arise from being compassionate, the following biological effects occur (Post, 2011): * Our heart rate slows down as a result of vagal nerve stimulation. * Chemical reactions in the body result in release of oxytocin (commonly known as the "bonding hormone"), which has multiple psychological effects including creating feelings of calmness and closeness. * Regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and feelings of pleasure are highly activated, increasing our sense of well-being and connection to others. Scientific research has also shown that compassion can be enhanced with training and practice. Compassion training programs, such as the Compassion Cultivation Training program at Stanford University and the CognitiveBased Compassion Training program at emory University, are founded on research that provides evidence of the connection between mindfulness and compassion. This research has found that practicing mindfulness increases grey matter density in areas of the brain associated with self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and compassion (Jazaieri, 2012). dRiviNg CoMpaSSioNatE CaRE iN EvERYdaY pRaCtiCE As case management professionals, we strive for relationships with patients that will help promote effective processes and outcomes. Relationships that provide compassionate care are based on empathy, emotional support, and efforts to understand and relieve distress and suffering. The science of compassionate care helps us understand that when we practice mindfulness, we strengthen our compassion skills. Case managers need to be aware of the key characteristics and processes of compassionate care (Dewar, 2013) and integrate them into everyday practice. These include: * Effective communication within individual interactions, over time, and across settings.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016

Patient-Centered Care
Association News
CMSA Corpo rate Partners
On Living Well: The Life-Transforming Power of Palliative Care
Improving Medications Access for Bone Marrow Transplant Patients
Breaking Down Silos & Strengthening Hospital Care Coordination
Cultivating the Art and Science of Compassionate Care
Index of Advertisers
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - cover1
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - cover2
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 3
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 4
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 5
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - Patient-Centered Care
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 7
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - Association News
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 9
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 10
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - CMSA Corpo rate Partners
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - On Living Well: The Life-Transforming Power of Palliative Care
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 13
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 14
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 15
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 16
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 17
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - Improving Medications Access for Bone Marrow Transplant Patients
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 19
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 20
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - Breaking Down Silos & Strengthening Hospital Care Coordination
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 22
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 23
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - Cultivating the Art and Science of Compassionate Care
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - 25
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - Index of Advertisers
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - cover3
CMSA Today - Issue 6, 2016 - cover4
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