Medical Dictionary

compassion fatigue

noun

Medical Definition of compassion fatigue

  1. :  the physical and mental exhaustion and emotional withdrawal experienced by those that care for sick or traumatized people over an extended period of time Some researchers consider compassion fatigue to be similar to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), except that it applies to those emotionally affected by the trauma of another (eg, client or family member) rather than by one's own trauma.—Michael K. Kearney et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association, 18 Mar. 2009 Clinicians should be aware of how their emotional withdrawal or lability and “compassion fatigue” can jeopardize the care of dying patients and their families.—Deborah Cook and Graeme Rocker, The New England Journal of Medicine, 26 June 2014


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