Adventures in Caring, the Santa Barbara organization that pioneered the concept of compassion as a visible, teachable, replicable skill, will celebrate 30 years of service on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day.
Founded by Karen Fox, herself a cancer survivor, AiC has trained thousands of future and practicing health-care professionals to provide the heart-to-heart “soul food” that nourishes patients when they are at their lowest ebb.
Locally, Adventures in Caring is known for its Raggedy Ann and Andy volunteers, many of them pre-med students, who go into hospitals and skilled nursing facilities to lift the spirits of the injured, ill and lonely.
To date, AiC has made mroe than 1 million heart-to-heart visits in California and the West. Nationally and internationally, AiC is known for its DVDs, training manuals and seminars that give the caregivers the tools to start difficult conversations, focus on patients’ abilities as much as their disabilities, and convey the humanity, warmth and hope so crucial to quality of life.
Now, the organization is taking its methods and bringing them full circle — focusing on the caregivers themselves. AiC’s latest DVD, Oxygen for Caregivers, teaches first responders and others in high-stress health-care jobs how they can take care of themselves to reduce the risk of burnout and “compassion fatigue” and ensure a long, satisfying career. It completes the Cultivating Compassion trilogy of staff training programs that includes The Medicine of Compassion and Compassion in Action.
“Adventures in Caring is always evolving to provide cutting-edge training for health-care professionals,” Executive Director Simon Fox said. “We’re proud that we’ve reached our 30th anniversary, an important milestone for any organization, but we are by no means resting on our laurels. In today’s frenetic, dehumanizing healthcare environment, professionals need all the support they can get. And patients need all the compassionate care those professionals can give.”
The Adventures in Caring Foundation develops award-winning DVD-based training programs for health-care professionals and volunteer caregivers in the delivery of compassionate care. It also supplies highly skilled volunteers who visit hospitals and skilled nursing facilities throughout the year.
— Ann Pieramici is a publicist representing Adventures in Caring.