Friday, March 7, 2014

How Do You Measure Compassion?

By Jonathan Dunnemann

This question has plagued me for nearly two years. This afternoon, I settled on an answer. I propose that you measure compassion by the extent to which you are able to prevent damage to or are able to mend damage from a broken human-spirit.

However, I would like to suggest that this task requires the broad cultivation of the following three things:

1) generosity-of-spirit;
2) open-heartedness; and
3) gentle-loving-kindness on the part of the caregiver.

While it may be difficult to imagine, these are all measurable factors that significantly influence a person's capacity to love themselves and others, and to effectively cope with mental, physical and spiritual health issues. They also appear to greatly affect the extent to which a person is likely to remain motivated and compliant with their discharge treatment plans as recommended to them by a hospital's clinical care professionals.

In the absence of unconditionally responsive, supportive, and therapeutic care the entire community of healthcare will continue to fail, along with it individual health outcomes, and as a result, patients will therefore return to local hospital emergency departments with the same recurring chief complaints/symptoms which contributes to further escalating costs to the both the federal government and individual taxpayers.

Based on personal experience as a volunteer and as an employee in a hospital setting, I firmly believe that were a more earnest effort made to consistently create an atmosphere of gentleness and warmth along with the application of a standard of practice that looks, feels and performs more like what we wish to see in those who come to us broken, defeated, fearful, hungry for love, ill, troubled, and weakened in so many respects that this would actually do more in identifying and contributing to more wide ranging successful outcomes and that it quite possibly could prove more cost effectively over the long-term than what is primarily being accomplished in the marketplace today.

There is probably a very good chance that measurement scales currently exist that could quite easily be modified to track the key factors associated with this proposed measurement concept. 

Does anyone else have thoughts that they would be willing to share on this subject?

I happen to be very interested in coming at this from the perspective of coaching and mentoring youth who are seeking personal change and better means for coping with specific areas of their daily living (i.e., addiction, anxiety, depression, disconnection, fear, meaninglessness, suicide, and violence).

Thank you.