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Understanding of empathetic communication in acute hospital settings: A scoping review

journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-20, 00:29 authored by Jaquille Haribhai-Thompson, Karen McBride-HenryKaren McBride-Henry, Caroline HalesCaroline Hales, Mary RookMary Rook
Objective Empathy and empathy education have been reviewed a number of times through systematic reviews and meta-analyses; however, the topic of ‘empathetic communication’ remains poorly understood when considering engaging in hospital-based research. Therefore, this scoping review aimed to explore the existing literature concerning empathetic communication in hospital settings and to evaluate the definitions presented. Design Scoping review. Data sources Systematic searches of the PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane, PsycINFO, and PsycArticles databases were conducted. Study selection All English studies in which empathetic communication in hospital settings were explored. The search terms used included empathy, communication, hospital settings, providers, and consumers. Data extraction Data were assessed through the use of a pre-set analysis tool. Results After conducting the searches, 419 articles were identified, of which 26 were included in this review. No single article specifically defined the term ‘empathetic communication’; however, 33 unique definitions of ‘empathy’ were identified, of which 23 considered communication to be a component of empathy. There was a considerable lack of consistency between the empathy definitions, with some classifying communication in empathy as an ability and others classifying it as a dynamic process. Conclusion Future and contextually focused research is needed to develop a consistent and clear definition of empathetic communication and empathy within a hospital setting to better build positive healthcare cultures. Practice implications Inconsistencies between definitions of empathy in empathetic communication research could reduce the efficacy of future research gains and impact the translation of research findings into clinical practice.

Funding

Enhancing the quality of patient care and staff well-being: Empathy Education | Funder: VP RESEARCH

History

Preferred citation

Haribhai-Thompson, J., McBride-Henry, K., Hales, C. & Rook, M. (2022). Understanding of empathetic communication in acute hospital settings: A scoping review. BMJ Open, 12(9), e063375-e063375. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-063375

Journal title

BMJ Open

Volume

12

Issue

9

Publication date

2022-09-28

Pagination

e063375-e063375

Publisher

BMJ

Publication status

Published

Contribution type

Article

Online publication date

2022-09-28

ISSN

2044-6055

eISSN

2044-6055

Article number

ARTN e063375

Language

en