Compassion Fatigue A Growing Problem For Families With Loved Ones In Hospital

  • Written by Joshua Kennedy

Hospital advocate Jason Sotiris believes compassion fatigue is a growing problem, exacerbated by covid, leaving many carers with loved ones in hospital feeling isolated and alone.

“Thousands of people are admitted to hospital each year, often unexpectedly with many unable to express how they are coping or even too tired to ask for help when they need it,” said Jason Sotiris, Founder of not for profit charity Supertee.  

Mr Sotiris said that’s why friends and family are so important but some retreat after sometime often leaving the parent/carer to eventually experience compassion fatigue - the emotional and physical exhaustion that happens from caring and simply being there for a loved one day after day.

“Families with sick children often neglect their self care and time for rest and need help from family and friends for long periods of time, even if it is just being there,” he said.

“The mental health of parents is pushed to the side as they are so dedicated to making their sick children happy and healthy”. Mr Sotiris said. 

“It goes along with the theory of ‘many hands make light work’. If loved ones and friends support parents with sick children, it makes their life easier.”

“We want to help families get through their hospital journey and reduce stress levels, trauma and in some cases Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. 

“My family had to manage on our own - and unfortunately it’s not possible,” he added. 

Jason has provided top tips to help support a loved one in hospital. 

  1. Be there and strong

Some see it coming, others don’t. A nightmare you wish you could wake up from. Now normal is about to change. When bad news comes - don’t try and relate, just be there and listen. What your loved one could use is ‘strength’ in knowing they are not alone, that they have you in their corner going through this together. 

  1. Look after the routine 

If your loved one has a home, they have a routine. Bills to be paid, kids to be cared for, lawns to cut and pets to feed. All these things add up. Organise a house clean - perhaps for them one less thing to care about. Offer to babysit - take pictures of their kids and pets. 

  1. Bring home to the hospital 

No one wants to be in hospital, who can blame them - the room, the bed, the noise and smell. It’s why bringing a little bit of home to the hospital makes a crap situation, well… a little less crap. Their favourite pillows, blankets, robes, toys or consoles. It all adds up, and makes the situation a little more bearable. 

  1. Bring positivity. 

If there was ever a reason for you to suddenly shift your mindset, now is the time. Suffering is terrible, on the flip side - it shows what’s really important in our lives. When you walk through the entrance doors of the hospital, leave negativity behind. Your job is to bring positivity into their room and display a smile showing they’re loved. 

  1. Make every moment count 

Hospital life seems to have its own laws when it comes to waiting around and passing time. In our everyday lives the ‘snooze’ button seems to go by in the blink of an eye. Whereas time feels like forever in hospital. Try and make meaningful moments - remember those old videos or photos that made you laugh? That ridiculous dance you can do, which makes them smile - pour it on! 

About Supertee 

A Supertee is a medical garment that has been designed to replace the existing hospital gown and to give kids in hospital a psychological boost that can assist in their recovery.  Based on an idea from a father who was watching their child suffering in pain and discomfort, the Supertee has been developed with feedback from parents and nursing staff who are dealing with these sick children on a daily basis.
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