Empathetic Care

This guide will help community health workers provide empathetic care, especially in under-resourced and rural settings. Working in their own study groups, community health workers can use this guide to learn how to:

  • Recognise the importance of empathy, kindness and compassion.
  • Think and communicate with empathy.
  • Practise self-care and self-compassion.
  • Use empathy and kindness to help others.
  • Full title: Empathetic Care: A guide for community health workers
  • Author(s): Roseanne Turner and Prof David Woods
  • Print ISBN: 978-1-928313-20-5
  • Reflowable ebook ISBN: 978-1-928313-20-5
  • PDF-ebook ISBN: 978-1-928313-20-5

About the author and editor

Roseanne Turner (author) is a critical care nurse and nurse educator with a special interest in mental health and self-care. For the past decade, she has been working in the NPO sector as an evaluator and trainer working with all cadre of health and social care providers including community health workers.

Prof David Woods (editor) is a retired neonatologist in Cape Town and the editor-in-chief of the renowned Perinatal Education Programme. He is passionate about self-empowered distant learning for all health professionals.


Empathetic Care: A guide for community health workers has been developed specifically for community health workers by Bettercare. Much of the learning methodology has been adapted from the Perinatal Education Programme course books for health professionals and much of the material for this book has been drawn from the work of psychologists Kristen Neff, Richard Davidson and Paul Ekman.

We acknowledge all the participants of the Skills to Care Learning Programme who have made suggestions and offered constructive criticism during the development of this coursebook. It is only through constant feedback from colleagues and participants that the content of the coursebook can be improved.

Bettercare would like to gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Small Projects Foundation (SPF) in supporting this project.

SPF is a conscientious non-governmental organisation that has contributed to community empowerment and development in the Eastern Cape and across South Africa. Established in January 1988, SPF is a community development and training trust that operates under the governance of a non-remunerated Board of Trustees. SPF specialises in the areas of project management, social marketing, development facilitation, training, innovative development, research and evaluation.

Kistefos AS provided a generous grant to Small Projects Foundation to fund the development and production of this coursebook.

May this material provide greater understanding and bring benefit to community health workers and the communities they serve.

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