Education, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Compassion and the Importance of It

I came across this article on LinkedIn: Compassion at Work: What is It?

We all could have a different definition of compassion, but this is the scenario I came up with to describe its meaning;

“Compassion then, is empathy with action.” Imagine being in a meeting with a colleague and all of a sudden they tear up or make a comment that someone they were very close to just died. Compassion is acknowledging this statement and offering to have lunch together to discuss further. Over lunch, you find out it was their best friend from high school that died. You listen patiently, you suggest that this colleague maybe put their thoughts down on paper…you become a person that cares…

I am a social worker who works as a case manager with older adults. I work in a social services department with 30 other staff who perform various roles from Intake to case management to group facilitators, mental health case manager, transportation, supervisors, etc…We are a team and not just a department. Our ages range from young 20’s to late 60’s, mostly women.

Compassion, empathy, caring are in us already or we would not be in this field. “When leaders model and reinforce values that encourage employees to build closer relationships, workplace empathy will increase. Leaders who demonstrated compassion were more likely to foster employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.”

Now, this makes sense to me. We cannot just go to work and focus on work. We support one another as staff, we learn about each other’s personal lives to the extent we choose to share and we become friends as well as colleagues. To me, this fosters compassion and makes the work environment happier, peaceful, caring. Staff wants to go to work and be at work and when relationships between colleagues are good, the work performance is better. Compassion further flows into relationships with clients and their families.

To me it is win-win!

Thoughts? Examples to share regarding compassion?

Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Geriatric Social Worker

This is worth reading from the perspective of a geriatric social worker-one who works with seniors…..,_Talking,_Living_Resource_For_All_Your_%22What_Ifs%22/

Aging/Gerontology, Healthcare, News

OxyContin in Canada

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

OxyContin seems to be the medication causing dilemmas here in Canada. The drug or medication has been authorized to be a generic and this has some people uncertain, scared, cautious.

OxyContin is a painkiller and painkillers are over-prescribed and easily accessible. This is a concern. Codeine, morphine and oxycodone are active ingredients in painkillers. They are addictive (some say), shared between family members, friends and cause a lot of concern.

We need to realize that these active ingredients are related to opioids, heroin, produce euphoria, can be fatal at large doses or if combined with alcohol or other sedative like medications/drugs.

Is it just me or does it seem like there are a lot of younger people in society experiencing chronic pain or acute pain? Back pain, leg pain, muscle pain, strained muscles, arthritis, more diseases like cancer…not known as well years ago and not usually to such young people.

OxyContin was removed from the Canadian market earlier this year as the control-release mechanism could be worked around by crushing and chewing the medication and people got their quick fix. A new version OxyNEO was released. It is harder to crush or dissolve. Same active ingredient as OxyContin though.

A generic version of a medication/drug means it is less expense and drug insurance plans that would not cover the full cost of the name brand will often cover the full cost of a generic version or cost wise for those not covered by provincial drug plans is more affordable for those on a lower or strict budget.

Why are we so drawn to the ‘quick fix’ I do not know or fully understand. I work with older adults though and many describe horrible chronic pain that makes it difficult for them to be mobile, to go out of the house, to engage in meaningful activities.

Are there other choices? Perhaps complimentary therapies or Eastern medicine might work and be worth a try. Acupuncture, massage therapy, osteopathy, exercise, aqua fitness, walking, physiotherapy, etc. Some will try homeopathy or different versions of therapy like cognitive behavior therapy, visualization or even a placebo to feel better.

No one wants to be or live in chronic pain. Pain clinics that specialize in this could be a very good resource.

We must keep in mind that there is physical pain and mental pain as well. Mental pain is what is going on inside the head where physical pain is typically the rest of the body, unless one suffers from migraines, which can be debilitating both physically and mentally.

Different medications depending on the type of pain.

Physicians need to work together and I know this can be difficult as many have huge caseloads and not enough time in the day to do so. A case manager or care manager can be an important piece/role here to work out the logistics, arrange appointments, follow-up with patients to ease the burden. Nurses, social workers, home care workers, nurse practitioners should work for the good of the patient. Collaboration is key here along with communication.

The ultimate goal is the patient and their feeling better; to make the pain  manageable.