An Exploration of Compassionate Care from the Perspectives of Older People, Carers and Service Providers
Following the Francis report (2013), delivering compassionate care has been implemented as a core value for health and social care services. However, the literature indicates that there is a lack of agreement and consistency regarding the definition of compassion. This study aimed to explore how the concept of compassion is conceptualised in the context of health and social care services. The study aims included: identifying key elements of compassionate care; comparing similarities and differences between participants' perspectives; and developing a conceptual framework of compassionate care.
Group Concept Mapping (GCM) was used as the research method to gain consensus on a definition of compassionate care from the perspectives of older people, carers and service providers. Data were collected through face-to-face workshops or online. In-depth interviews were also conducted with frail older people, such that the perspectives of those who could not attend a workshop were included in the study.
Data collection for GCM involved 3 tasks: “brainstorming”, “sorting” and “rating”. “Brainstorming” involved asking participants to generate ideas about compassionate care. Transcripts from in-depth interviews also contributed to the “brainstorming” task. For “sorting”, participants were asked to sort a collection of statements generated from “brainstorming” into categories, and to give each category a label. For “rating”, participants were asked to rate how important they believed each statement to be, and how frequently they experienced it in the care they had receive and/or provided.
The data were analysed to produce a point and cluster map. The cluster map represents participants’ responses in the “sorting” task. The steering group interpreted the data, and agreed that the concept of compassionate care is comprised of 8 clusters: “Non-judgemental”, “Excellent skills which set them apart”, “Above and beyond”, “Genuine care giving”, “Show the person is valued”, “Empathetic”, “Thoughtful” and “People-centred care”.
This study contributes a definition of compassionate care from the perspectives of older people, carers and service providers in the context of health and social care services.
This study had produced a conceptual framework of compassionate care, consisting of 8 elements: “Non-judgemental”, “Excellent skills which set them apart”, “Above and beyond”, “Genuine care giving”, “Show the person is valued”, “Empathetic”, “Thoughtful” and “People-centred care”.
This study is unique both in the UK and internationally.
The resulting conceptual framework may be utilised further to develop a novel tool to measure compassionate care.