Friday, February 17, 2017

Compassion Fatigue Bibliography ...

Knowledge will bring you
the opportunity to make a difference.

Claire Fagin

Hi Everyone,

I have just been updating the bibliography for the Caring On Empty workshop in preparation for workshops in Calgary and Vancouver Island next month and I thought you might like to have a look at some of the additions. Here they are:

1.  Articles:

*  Anderson, L (2016) The impact of a knitting intervention on compassion fatigue in oncology nurses Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing Feb 2016, Vol 20(1), 102-104

*  Claxton-Oldfield, S (2015) Hospice palliative care volunteers: Stressors, how they cope with them and implications for volunteer training/management  American Journal of Hospice and Palliative medicine Feb 10, 2015

*  Gilman, L et al (2015) Strategies to promote coping and resilience in oncology and palliative care nurses caring for adult patients with malignancy: A comprehensive systematic review JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep 2015 June 12;13(5):131-204

*  Labib, MYT (2015) Compassion Fatigue, the Wellness of Care Providers and the Quality of Patient Care BSc Honors Thesis Portland State University Paper 205

*  Jack, Kirsten (2017) The meaning of compassion fatigue to student nurses: An interpretive phenomenological study J of Compassionate Health Care (2017)4:2 doi 10.1186/s40639-017-0031-5

*  Miller, B and Sprang, G (2016) A components-based practice and supervision model for reducing compassion fatigue by affecting clinician experience Traumatology January 28, 2016

*  Thieleman, K and Cacciatore, J (2014) Witness to suffering: Mindfulness and compassion fatigue among traumatic bereavement volunteers and professionals  Social Work January 1, 2014

*  Zehr, KL (2015) The Effect of Education on Compassion Fatigue as Experienced by Staff Nurses Doctorate of Nursing Practice Thesis, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana Evidence Based Practice Reports. Paper 65

2.  Books:

*  Levine, Peter (2015) Trauma and Memory: Brain & Body in a Search for the Living Past North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA

*  Richardson, Jan (2016) The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief Wanton Gospeller Press, Orlando, Florida

*  Esfahani-Smith, Emily (2017) The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters Viking Press


The Wild Edge of Sorrow ...

There is some strange intimacy between grief and aliveness, some sacred exchange between what seems unbearable
and what is most exquisitely alive. Through this,
I have come to have a lasting faith in grief.

Francis Weller
The Wild Edge of Sorrow

Hello, Everyone,

I began the post below earlier last month but was interrupted and forgot to hit the "publish" button so here it is now, sans the snow! .....

Here in Vancouver, we are trapped in the wilds of winter with more snow on the ground, in the trees, on the roads and in the air in this past week than we usually see in a year! The whole world seems to be held in muted abeyance, hibernating as it waits for its natural rhythms to return. It's a time to bury yourself in a cozy blanket with a good book and that's just what I've been doing all weekend.

Having lost four dear ones since mid-December (five, if we count my sister's Maggie-dog, a lovely Bernese Mountain Dog who captured all our hearts), witnessed the devastation of so many  lovely trees at the lake during this year's unusual snowfalls, been stunned by the deaths of six innocent Muslims at prayer in Quebec City and experienced profound sorrow at the hateful rhetoric arising from so many parts of our world, I have been reading a new-to-me book on grief. I'd like to share some of its goodness with you this morning.

Francis Weller's book, entitled The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, is one of the better volumes on grief I've had the pleasure to read. Beautifully written, it covers five categories of loss which Weller says form five gateways to grief

1.  The gateway of illness and death
2.  The gateway of the parts of our selves that didn't receive love -  parts that were then lost  through being wrapped in shame, banished and marked unworthy
3.  The gateway of the world's sorrows -  the loss of care for the earth and the devastated state of the earth and its creatures 
4.  The gateway of what we expected and did not receive -  the loss of the welcome, engagement, touch and reflection we are all hardwired to expect at birth and throughout our lives but may not have received because we weren't raised by a village that could meet multiple needs or because
5.  The gateway of ancestral grief - the losses of our ancestors, often unknown or unacknowledged, and the secondary losses arising from the ways in which they coped with their pain (violence, alcoholism, eating disorders, emotional abuse and neglect, rejection of culture etc), all still carried within our bodies

Weller spends a good deal of time talking about the importance of ritual, a form of support readily available to the bereaved but often missing for people with disenfranchised grief such as chronic sorrow. Because this grief response is not mentioned specifically in the book, the volume also lacks the needed cautions reminding family caregivers to avoid doing deep grief work around more than one loss at one time so as not to become overwhelmed.

I found this book a poetic read with exquisitely evocative language. It provides a needed reminder for all of us to acknowledge and work with our losses so they don't have a continuing negative impact on our selves and our world and so that our personal aliveness can be kindled through the transformation of our grief. Weller's writing is empathic and resonates with the grief of the reader and, although its  recommended group work for healing grief is not a process that appeals to my introverted soul, it obviously appeals to and helps many others. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about ritual and the healing of grief.

A second book I've found supportive and soothing in these days of sadness is Jan Richardson's new book, The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief. While written from the specific perspective of a United Methodist minister and new widow in the US, this book touches on universal themes of loss, grief and transformation and invites us to "know the tenacity of hope and to recognize the presence of love which ... is 'sorrow's most lasting cure'". Here is one of Jan's new blessings, one which I think applies to caregivers as much as to the bereaved:

The Blessing You Should Not Tell Me

Do not tell me
there will be a blessing
in the breaking,
that it will ever
be a grace
to wake into this life
so altered,
this world
so without.

Do not tell me
of the blessing
that will come
in absence.

Do not tell me
that what does not
kill me
will make me strong
or that God will not
send me more than I
can bear.

Do not tell me
this will make me
more compassionate,
more loving,
more holy.

Do not tell me
this will make me
more grateful for what
I had.

Do not tell me
I was lucky.

Do not even tell me
there will be a blessing.

Give me instead
the blessing
of breathing with me.

Give me instead
the blessing of sitting with me
when you cannot think
of what to say.

Give me instead
the blessing
of asking about him -
how we met
or what I loved most about the life
we have shared;
ask for a story
or tell me one
because a story is, finally,
the only place on earth
he lives now.

If you could know
what grace lives
in such a blessing,
you would never cease
to offer it.

If you could glimpse
the solace and sweetness
that abide there,
you would never wonder
if there was a blessing
you could give
that would be better
than this -
the blessing of your own heart
opened and beating
with mine.

Blessings to all of you who grieve today.