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The design of compassionate care.Crawford, Paul; Brown, Brian; Kvangarsnes, Marit; Gilbert, Paul; University of Nottingham; De Montfort University; Aalesund University College; University of Derby (Wiley, 2014-05-19)Aims and objectives To investigate the tension between individual and organisational responses to contemporary demands for compassionate interactions in health care. Background Health care is often said to need more compassion among its practitioners. However, this represents a rather simplistic view of the issue, situating the problem with individual practitioners rather than focusing on the overall design of care and healthcare organisations, which have often adopted a production-line approach. Design This is a position paper informed by a narrative literature review. Methods A search of the PubMed, Science Direct and CINAHL databases for the terms compassion, care and design was conducted in the research literature published from 2000 through to mid-2013. Results There is a relatively large literature on compassion in health care, where authors discuss the value of imbuing a variety of aspects of health services with compassion including nurses, other practitioners and, ultimately, among patients. This contrasts with the rather limited attention that compassionate practice has received in healthcare curricula and the lack of attention to how compassion is informed by organisational structures and processes. We discuss how making the clinic more welcoming for patients and promoting bidirectional compassion and compassion formation in nursing education can be part of an overall approach to the design of compassionate care. Conclusions We discuss a number of ways in which compassion can be enhanced through training, educational and organisational design, through exploiting the potential of brief opportunities for communication and through initiatives involving patients and service users, as well as practitioners and service leaders.
Practical compassions: repertoires of practice and compassion talk in acute mental healthcareBrown, Brian; Crawford, Paul; Gilbert, Paul; Gilbert, Jean; Gale, Corinne; DeMontfort University; Nottingham University; University of Derby; Faculty of Health and Life Sciences; De Montfort University; Leicester UK; Division of Nursing; Nottingham University; Nottingham UK; et al. (Wiley, 2013-10-11)This article reports an exploratory study of the concept of compassion in the work of 20 mental health practitioners in a UK Midlands facility. Using notions of practice derived from phenomenology and Bourdieusian sociology and notions of emotional labour we identify two contrasting interpretive repertoires in discussions of compassion. The first, the practical compassion repertoire, evokes the practical, physical and bodily aspects of compassion. It involves organising being with patients, playing games, anticipating disruption and taking them outside for cigarettes. Practitioners described being aware that these practical, bodily activities could lead to patients ‘opening up’, disclosing their interior concerns and enabling practical, compassionate mental health work to take place. In contrast, the second, organisational repertoire, concerns organisational constraints on compassionate practice. The shortage of staff, the record-keeping and internal processes of quality control were seen as time-greedy and apt to detract from contact with patients. The findings are discussed in relation to Bourdieu and Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological accounts of practice and habit and set in context in the growing interest in placing compassion centrally in healthcare. We also explore how the exercise of compassion in the way our participants describe it can afford the more effective exercise of medical power.