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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 372

The importance of compassionate care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Department of Medical Surgical Nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Date of Submission14-Jul-2020
Date of Decision25-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance26-Mar-2021
Date of Web Publication20-Jul-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mansour Ghafourifard
Department of Medical Surgical Nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Shariati-Jonubi St., Tabriz
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijnmr.IJNMR_182_20

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How to cite this article:
Ghafourifard M. The importance of compassionate care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Iranian J Nursing Midwifery Res 2021;26:372

How to cite this URL:
Ghafourifard M. The importance of compassionate care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Iranian J Nursing Midwifery Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Dec 4];26:372. Available from: https://www.ijnmrjournal.net/text.asp?2021/26/4/372/321915

Dear Editor,

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic is a major public health issue and continues to spread internationally. Since there is no specific anti-viral drug or effective vaccine regime for this disease, the management of this disease mostly focuses on supportive care.[1] One of the main approaches in providing supportive care is the delivery of compassionate care.[2] People may experience widespread psychological distress and sufferings due to the fear of the coronavirus infection, physical isolation, dying and losing family members. In this most challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic, compassion, as a stress buffer, can play the main role in relieving the sufferings in life. Compassion is linked to willing self-sacrifice and the characteristic that separates us from the other animals and makes us “human”.[1] Compassion is often considered as having sensitivity toward suffering and motivates persons to help alleviate the suffering of others.[2] Compassion encourages giving support and is stimulated by perceiving others as distressed, vulnerable or in need.[2],[3] Some people, such as homeless people, migrants, people in detention, children and women in abusive households, frail older peoples, pregnant women and others, have a greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus and they need more help from others. Therefore, providing compassionate care by healthcare providers could help vulnerable people to feel safe and supported.[1]

Compassionate messaging and active listening to the patients and families and building a trusting relationship is another attribute of compassionate care that helps patients with COVID-19 to alleviate the sufferings. Compassion can be delivered by small acts of kindness such as a smile, active listening, effective support and providing information. Leamy et al.[4] believe that “small acts of kindness make the unbearable bearable”. Compassion could lead to better physiological regulation and has been linked to reduced Hypothalamic–Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity, reduced cortisol reactivity, increased parasympathetic nervous system reactivity, reduced cardiovascular reactivity and better immune function; all of these mechanisms reduce stress.[3] In conclusion, all healthcare providers and societies should nurture and cultivate compassion to recognize the sufferings of human beings in global health crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic and take actions to alleviate these sufferings in life.

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Conflicts of interest

Nothing to declare.

  References Top

Wakam GK, Montgomery JR, Biesterveld BE, Brown CS. Not dying alone—Modern compassionate care in the Covid-19 pandemic. N Engl J Med 2020;382:e88.  Back to cited text no. 1
Zamanzadeh V, Valizadeh L, Rahmani A, Ghafourifard M. Compassionate care in nursing: A hybrid concept analysis. J Hayat 2017;22:362-80.  Back to cited text no. 2
Cosley BJ, McCoy SK, Saslow LR, Epel ES. Is compassion for others stress buffering? Consequences of compassion and social support for physiological reactivity to stress. J Exp Soc Psychol 2010;46:816-23.  Back to cited text no. 3
Leamy M, Reynolds E, Robert G, Taylor C, Maben J. The origins and implementation of an intervention to support healthcare staff to deliver compassionate care: Exploring fidelity and adaptation in the transfer of Schwartz Center Rounds® from the United States to the United Kingdom. BMC Health Serv Res 2019;19:457.  Back to cited text no. 4

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