It provides a sound concept to guide action benefiting those who are in need, in various situations.Compassionate love is a valuable quality to bring to the care of those who are sick, and would be beneficial to include in treatment, care, and decision making.
Motives are usually mixed, but when self-centered needs predominate, compassionate love cannot be fully expressed.
Research specifically on compassionate love is needed in order to determine how best to foster this quality in people's lives, and to assess the particular impact of this quality in the care of the sick.
The combination of the two words "compassionate" and "love" highlights features in both words: this combination describes sympathy towards the other, in a way that is caring, respectful, and appropriately emotionally engaged, which leads to appropriate action in service of the other person.
Compassionate love can operate through the relief of suffering, but also through acknowledging life's full possibilities and making space for each human being to reach his or her potential.
Results from research can help to give appropriate priority to this quality in the training of healthcare providers, and in the settings and circumstances provided for those who are sick.
In order to do adequate research on compassionate love, it is important to clearly articulate the various essential components, the conditions that might foster and those that might impede its expression, and to develop methodologies for assessment.Good actions can also emerge from motives not full of compassionate love, such as the motive to look good in the eyes of others or to feel needed, but ultimately the feedback of repeating these kinds of behaviors on the moral development of the healthcare provider can be detrimental.It is also possible that the more self-centered, condescending, or less respectful motive is noticed by the sick person, and care is not as effective.This makes up the substrate, the basic starting situation, in which individuals begin to act with compassionate love.This starting point is different for each person, and situations in which action takes place differ as well.It starts with the substrates discussed previously.Given those starting points, as one encounters a specific person in a specific situation, one must make a decision to act (shown centrally in the figure), and a motive drives that decision.There are over fifty large research projects specifically gathering data on this topic, some in healthcare settings.Figure 1 illustrates a research model that has shown promise in this area.Compassionate love is not the same as romantic love, familial love, or affection, although it can accompany these other forms of love and blend with them.The professional in a healthcare setting needs to avoid becoming too attached to the patient, and compassionate love allows for this.