Recognizing Caregiver Burnout / Compassion Fatigue
“I can’t do this anymore! I yelled at Tony when he fell because he knows he’s supposed to use his walker or ask me for help,” Ann explained to her friend.
Over the years, Ann’s attitude went from positive and caring to one of frustration, anger, and guilt. Many family caregivers don’t notice the toll caregiving is taking on them until it boils over, as in Ann’s case.
Highly trained professionals, too, experience burnout and fatigue. This has certainly come to light over the last several years. Nurses, social workers, aides have all felt the impact of the unending need to provide compassionate care.
Hesitant to complain or ask for help, many care providers keep their feelings to themselves, even when their own health is negatively affected. Below are some of the symptoms to watch for:
Burnout Compassion Fatigue
- -Physical/emotional exhaustion -Apathy/loss of empathy
- -Irritability -Worsening relationship
- -Frustration -Isolation
- -Body aches -Sleep disturbances
- -Depression -Weight Fluctuations
- -Loss of interest in things once enjoyed -Anger
Caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue are concepts that are becoming more widely recognized in the healthcare industry. While there is a distinction between the two, the main focus needs to be on treatment strategies for both.
In next month’s article, you will get tips and strategies for self-care. If you are experiencing any of the above, talk with a trusted friend or professional. Never be afraid to ask for help. Choice Connections staff is always available to listen and be a resource.