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Empathy

Is empathy a part of customer service? In our business, it better be. But think about the other areas of health care. Are providers, administrators, nurses, executive directors, physicians, therapists, care coordinators, social workers, marketing representatives, case managers, insurance agents, etc…etc… Are they empathetic to your situation? Do they at least act like they care?

If you love your spouse, and have been married for over 50 years, and now you are tortured to watch him or her decline due to terminal illness, are you going to behave normally? It’s highly possible that you might be completely unable to think rationally and properly. And it’s possible that in this mind-boggling time that you need to make more important decisions than you’ve ever made in your life. In this most difficult of moments, are care providers understanding? Or do they treat you like a number? As if you are widget of business to be replaced, do they look to move you along in order to serve the next customer? Or even worse, do they look to serve their own needs above yours because you’ve become a “problem?”

I’m fascinated by word etymology, where our current words come from and how they were formed into what we use them for today. The word “empathy” is derived from the Greek word empatheia. The “em” part of the word means “in.” The “patheia” part of the word comes from “pathos” which means passion or suffering. So, empathy literally means “in suffering.” So, to be empathetic, one must put himself or herself into another’s suffering.

In the business of caring for people, I often find myself visiting with people approaching the single worst day of their life: the loss of someone they love more than life. I pray that we all love someone enough to feel this pain one day; and I pray that someone loves each of us in the same way.

Here at Senior Care Management Solutions, we remind our staff in the field and in the office to be EMPATHETIC. To put yourself into someone else’s suffering. To feel the sorrow and loss that a client must be feeling. To listen to them. And to let your heart tell you what to say.

As technology continues to change the world of business and healthcare, we are still people who require compassion and love. And although data allows businesses and health care providers to make the best decisions, it seems that more and more people tell me that, like Bob Seger, they “feel like a number.

– To the wife watching her husband of 50+ years decline into hospice care, we feel for you.
– To the adult son who silently weeps to himself because his mother doesn’t remember who he is, we hurt with you.
– For daddy’s little girl who has to say goodbye to her dad forever, we cry with you and for you.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —-Maya Angelou

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