Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Compassion Fatigue, Hospice, Pastoral Care, Christian
Gardner-Cook, Ellen Chloe, "Pastoral Care and the Alleviation of Compassion Fatigue in Staff at St. Mary's Hospice" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3487.
This action research project studied compassion fatigue in hospice staff and the ways that Christian prayer practices can mitigate compassion fatigue symptoms and contribute to resiliency. The sample population included forty employees and the sample size was N=6. The participants answered four anonymous, self-report assessments to measure six areas, compassion satisfaction, self-compassion, secondary traumatic stress, burnout, perceived stress, and spirituality at the first of eight weekly sessions. These assessments included the Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL), the Perceived Stress Scale, the Spiritual Intelligence Self-Report Inventory, and the Self-Compassion Scale. Six weeks of prayer interventions followed the initial assessments then on the eighth week, staff completed the same four anonymous assessments that they took at the beginning of the project. Employing a focus group format, participants discussed their findings at each session. Additionally, participants answered anonymous questionnaires on their opinions about the compassion fatigue project interventions which corroborated the data from the assessments. The assessments’ statistical results showed improvement in three out of six areas: burnout, perceived stress, and spiritual intelligence. Areas in need of further attention were self-compassion, compassion satisfaction, and secondary traumatic stress. Based on the assessment data and feedback from the participants, the writer recommends that St. Mary’s Hospice management provide monthly debriefing sessions and offer the Compassion Fatigue Prayer Project again for other staff members. This project showed that group self-care interventions including education of compassion fatigue, creative prayer practices, and debriefing can benefit hospice workers.