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by: Alex Smith

I’m interested in people’s reactions to the video called “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care” produced by the Clevland Clinic. The whole videois only 4:24 long.

This is a really well done high quality production. It’s quite moving.

The video tracks faces of people in the hospital – patients (young and old), doctors, nurses, staff. Sad George Winston-type music overlay. No spoken words – instead there are floating phrases describing the innermost concerns or joys of the people in the video. Some examples:

Day 29 waiting for a new heart

Doesn’t completely understand

Too shocked to comprehend treatment options

Visiting Dad for the last time

Celebrating 25th wedding anniversary

Worried how he will pay for this

7,000 miles from home

Just signed DNR


  1. Does anyone know more about this video? Were palliative care folks involved in the making? It seems likely.
  2. I also wonder how people will use this video. How could it be used in teaching, for example?
  3. Any constructive critiques of the video? Perhaps one could argue that in geriatrics and palliative care we know about these inner struggles, because we face them daily in our work. So who is the video for? Marketing for patients – to show that the Clevland Clinic cares?

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I found this really moving. I pass patients in the hallways and on the street every day. This is a great reminder that every one of them has a story, sad or joyful.

    Stepping back into my role as a communicator, I find the video really well done. It's subtle, it's not self-congratulatory, there is no big "happy end" that the Cleveland Clinic will fix it all. Kudos to the producers. Thanks for posting this, Alex!

  2. I first saw this video in the Spring when a lecturer on palliative care spoke at Pediatric Grand Rounds. I agree that it is extremely moving and very well done. Unfortunately I was paged out of the Grand Rounds and don't know if the speaker gave any information regarding the creation of the video. I would love to know more about it. Thank you for posting it on GeriPal.

  3. I've seen this video used at a staff meeting to promote patient satisfaction, as well as part of a hospital based lecture to teach a new customer service acronym RELATE.

  4. Thanks Alex – so exciting to see this video posted!

    I can tell you that our palliative care department did not have input into the video. It was developed by the Cleveland Clinic Media Production Team and it was developed for Cleveland Clinic caregivers/employees – aired originally in Leadership Forums and then shown at one of Dr. Cosgrove's 'State of the Clinic" addresses. I have an email out to one of the women who made the video – so I will post more information when I hear back from her.

    One of the ways we are using the video: there is a full day communication course currently being taught to all attending physicians at the Cleveland Clinic. We have 23 active facilitators from all different specialties – I consider myself lucky to be the representative from palliative medicine. We use this video to introduce the topic of empathy before we teach the verbal and non-verbal gestures of empathy. We try to highlight that everyone has a story and the only way you are going to find out that story is to ask – don't make assumptions or presumptions. We also point out that some of these stories are driving the communication 'challenges' we perceive. Instead, it can make such a difference to have a non-judgmental curiosity about the person you are meeting.

    Hope that helps!

  5. It is a beautiful video and helps us to bridge the compassion gap. I will share it with our physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers and other staff as something they might share with their families and close friends to give them a better sense of what we do with much of our lives. Thank you.

  6. Glad people found this so moving. And thanks Katie for your insight into the making of this video and how it is being used!

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