Expert advice

Compassion fatigue: how to know if you have it and how to support team members

What to do when the emotional and physical toll of caring reduces your ability to empathise

What to do when the emotional and physical toll of caring reduces your ability to empathise

Compassion fatigue is sometimes described as the ‘cost of caring’, where emotional and physical exhaustion lead to a reduced ability to empathise or feel compassion for others.

While there is no universal definition, it is often used to describe the experience of healthcare staff. More loosely, it refers to situations where people feel unable to respond to a request for help because they have faced so many demands already.

What are the key signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue?

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) says it is characterised by emotional and physical exhaustion, and ‘a decrease in the

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