Kindness and compassion in health and social care are a key area of focus internationally for 2021. PS! has engaged in various activities linked to this theme over the last few years, for example, Professor Michael West spoke on the subject at our Annual Forum in 2018, and recently we had Bob Klaber delivering a workshop titled: ‘Communication, Kindness and Quality Improvement’.
Webinar med Bob Klaber: Kindness er kernen i det, vi gør
Medfølelse – århundredets nye vidundermiddel
Internationally, there have been various reports and reviews which cover this issue, see for example the various documents available at the Kings Fund. One such report which was produced by the Carnegie UK Trust called ‘The courage to be kind’ takes an in-depth look at the role of kindness in the healthcare response to COVID-19.
The courage to be kind. Reflecting on the role of kindness in the healthcare response to COVID-19
In the report, the author reflects on how kindness can be ‘squeezed’ out of healthcare by poor leadership, financial pressures, risk aversion and high levels of scrutiny (inspection) which can foster a blame culture. Allied to this, the current healthcare system does not support and reward the building of strong, trusting relationships in spite of high-level aims and visions which promote a commitment to compassion and kindness.
What is special about this report is the intimate nature of the data collection process, which involved a small group of clinicians holding a series of conversations over a six month period in 2020. The conversations cover a wide range of topics, such as ‘staff wellbeing’, ‘changing practice’, ‘common purpose’, amongst many others. The content and tone of these conversations often reflects the changing situation in regard to COVID-19, from the initial lockdown period (spring), through the lifting of lockdown (summer) and into remobilisation (autumn). Although the reflections are personal, there are issues and themes which are generalisable, and mirror experiences from Denmark:
“How do we keep the system going in a new way without going back to the old way? …something has to be taken out of the system to create the space for kindness and relationships”.
The report provides a human and emotional understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on front-line healthcare staff. It includes examples of concerns, as well as inspiration for changing the culture of the system to integrate kindness and compassion into the daily lives of people providing and receiving care.
There is a great deal to learn from this report, and going forward, we are keen to understand better how kindness and compassion can by operationalised and integrated into daily work. If you have ideas or examples of how this could be done, we would very much like to hear from you.
Please email me at: email@example.com
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