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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2010 Jun;27(4):239-42. doi: 10.1177/1049909109354096. Epub 2010 Jan 14.

Compassion fatigue: what is it? Why does it matter? Recognizing the symptoms, acknowledging the impact, developing the tools to prevent compassion fatigue, and strengthen the professional already suffering from the effects.

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  • 1American Red Cross.


Compassion fatigue (CF) is recognizable. It erodes the professional's ability to function at an optimum level. Depression, caregiver stress, secondary trauma, and post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) are very much a part of the daily landscape for today's professional. The costs are many: staff turnover, loss of self-worth, diminished productivity, poor morale, and more. We in the helping professions must acknowledge the syndrome and validate its impact on professional staff. Giving lip service to ''staff support'' is not enough. We must fully understand how CF comes about and how we can effectively support those suffering its debilitating consequences.

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