Empathy in healthcare is the ability to understand and share patient’s feelings, experiences, and values with all respect and treat them with kindness and dignity. It is an important communication skill for a health professional and one that includes three dimensions: emotional, cognitive, and behavioural.
It has been proven that health professionals with high levels of empathy operate more efficiently. Empathy improves patient’s satisfaction, treatment compliance, and clinical outcomes. Patients are generally more likely to follow their treatment plan and practice self-care when they feel heard and understood.
Unfortunately, some healthcare providers think that autistic people lack empathy and deal with them without respect. A lot of Research has evolved on the link between autism and empathy. Initially, it was believed that a lack of empathy was a universal trait of autism, but more recent research indicates that this varies among individuals with the disorder.
A lack of expressed empathy in autistic people is not a result of a lack of emotion but is due to underdeveloped skills and social communication issues related to the disorder.
Healthcare providers should treat people with determination and the autistic with all respect, show empathy by giving their feelings names, and use photographs and mirrors to label emotions. Help them understand emotions by using social stories and comic strip conversations and letting them know that it is normal for them to experience these emotions. Teach them to handle emotions positively. Listen to them and create an empathetic environment that is open to expression.
Finally, the empathic relationship of the healthcare provider with the patient builds trust, heals, and leads to greater happiness. Makes caring for patients a more rewarding experience.
Dr. Hidaia Alnajjar
Certified Life Coach