Stoneygate Centre for Empathic Healthcare

About the Centre

Funded by the Stoneygate Trust, the Stoneygate Centre for Empathic Healthcare is pioneering a robust new approach to medical education and training that positions empathy at the heart of healthcare delivery, fostering healthcare services that are fit for the future and happier, healthier patients.

Based in the University of Leicester College of Life Sciences, one of the UK’s top-ranked institutions for medical education and clinical research, we are building an international flagship of expertise in empathic healthcare and convening a multi-disciplinary team from across the fields of evidence-based medicine and medical education.

Our plans are bold and our vision is transformative. The Stoneygate Centre will work to drive forward real and meaningful change on a national and international scale through a groundbreaking programme of globally-recognised research, a revolutionary new medical curriculum, and professional development training across the wider healthcare sector.

Empathy in 21st Century healthcare

Empathy supports doctors to see the situation from their patient’s perspective and can be beneficial to both patient and practitioner.

Evidence from high-quality research shows that a more empathic approach to healthcare can nurture greater trust between patients and practitioners, calm anxiety, improve patient outcomes, and enhance patient experience. For the NHS workforce, practicing empathically can contribute to greater resilience to the pressures of fast-paced healthcare systems, support practitioner well-being and enhance performance.

However, adopting a more patient-centred, holistic approach to patient care does not solely rely on the practitioner’s skill set. For healthcare to be more empathic in an increasingly digital future, the environment that practitioners work in also needs to be considered and challenged, with empathy and compassion embedded right across the system.

In partnership with our national and international collaborators, our research and teaching will catalyse the conditions for more empathetic interactions between healthcare professionals, healthcare systems and patients both nationally and internationally.

Wellbeing at work

The Centre supports wellbeing at work. This has three components:

First, we support healthy lifestyle habits. Most people know what these are (eating healthy food, taking regular breaks, doing physical activity), however, many find it difficult to muster the motivation to do so. We don’t believe that any of the tips should be required, let alone worthy of yet another online course. Instead, we do the following:

  • In general, we encourage empathy (which is as simple yet powerful as basic kindness) to each other
  • Share simple tips (such as walking up the stairs to the office)
  • Encourage people to complete their work within the required hours and not work overtime. This allows them to do other things after work
  • When feasible, have outdoor walking meetings.

Second, we provide a healthy physical space. NASA research found that plants purify air in offices, and they recommend that each office has at least two plants. We also support those who require special assistance, such as standing/sitting desks, to acquire these via the University. The Centre space is situated within the relatively new George Davies Centre, which is an environmentally friendly, smart building with excellent lighting and large windows.

Third, the Centre has a clear mission (to improve people’s health) and values (including integrity, empathy, and creativity). Research shows that having clear mission and values are the “soul” of organisations that make members of an organisation more resilient.

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