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"An understanding, a way of life”: An Exploration of Learning Disability Professionals’ Experiences of Compassion

Brennan, Hope and Westbrook, Jenna and Parry, Sarah (2020) "An understanding, a way of life”: An Exploration of Learning Disability Professionals’ Experiences of Compassion. British Journal of Learning Disabilities. ISSN 1354-4187

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Abstract

Background Compassion is one of six core principles that the NHS means to promote within healthcare. Research concerning compassion within learning disability services is scarce, therefore the current study aimed to explore the experiences of compassion of professionals within learning disability services. Materials and Methods Twelve professionals from learning disability services completed a quantitative measure of professional quality of life and answered a series of qualitative questions regarding their experiences of compassion, in either an online survey or interview. Results Narrative analysis was used to interpret participants’ experiences of compassion. Three chapters were generated based on thematic and linguistic connections. In chapter one, participants explored their compassionate identities. In chapter two, participants detailed the flow of compassion, experienced interpersonally and intrapersonally. In chapter three, participants described their compassionate growth, owing to significant life events over time. Conclusions Recommendations for improving compassionate care have been made, including encouraging self-compassion for professionals through training screening for compassion during recruitment and including people with learning disabilities on interview panels.

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