Patient suffering and caregiver compassion: new opportunities for research, practice, and policy.
The purpose of this article is to stimulate discussion and research about patient suffering and caregiver compassion. It is our view that these constructs are central to understanding phenomena such as family caregiving, and that recognizing their unique role in the caregiving experience provides new directions for intervention research, clinical practices, and social policy. We first define and characterize these constructs, review empirical evidence supporting the distinct role of suffering and compassion in the context of caregiving, and then present a conceptual model linking patient suffering with caregiver compassion. We conclude with a discussion of implications and future directions for clinical intervention, research, and policy.