There is a military chaplaincy angle here which I’ve seen first hand in a chaplain colleague who recently returned from a six month tour at the NATO military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. His exhaustion was written all over his face. This piece is worth reading by chaplains, medical people, social workers, and the like. MP+

Officials Urge More Care for Caregivers
By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2010 – The military needs to step up efforts to head off compassion fatigue among its caregivers, a National Guard official said here yesterday.

“I do think not enough of it is being paid attention to by the active or reserve component,” said Public Health Service Capt. Joan Hunter, director of psychological health for the National Guard Bureau.

Hunter spoke at the 2010 Suicide Prevention Conference here sponsored by the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments. She defined compassion fatigue as the emotional residue or strain of exposure of working with patients recovering from traumatic events. Warning signs, she explained, include a decrease in performance, inattention to self-care, irritability and anger, absenteeism, and conflicts with workers and peers.

“It starts out in a very insidious way, but can escalate very quickly,” she noted.

Read the whole piece here.