Samantha Lund, medical director and Schwartz Round clinical lead at Trinity Hospice in London, explains why the hospice finds Schwartz Rounds so invaluable.

Schwartz Rounds are a multidisciplinary forum designed for staff to come together once a month to discuss and reflect on the emotional and social challenges associated with their jobs. The rounds are designed to offer emotional and social support for staff – not look for clinical outcomes.

At Trinity Hospice we have been running Schwartz Rounds for over three years. Inspired by a hugely positive experience in the United States, our head of patient and family support put a case together for starting the rounds in 2012 and we have never looked back.

Schwartz Rounds are now a regular feature in the Trinity calendar. We run monthly rounds, alternating the day and time, so that we maximise the numbers and mix of individuals who can attend.

What do Schwartz Rounds bring to Trinity Hospice?

First must be the sense of team and of being together. Those attending include volunteers, nurses, members of the fundraising department, doctors, administrators… the list goes on! Even if this month's theme doesn't relate to every sphere of work, the rounds provide for increased understanding and empathy about the emotional impact of caring for patients.

Second is the acknowledgement that we are all in this together. Suddenly you realise that the situation you were struggling with was also difficult for others. Schwartz Rounds give you a different insight into those around you.

Third would be the sense of discovery that Schwartz Rounds can bring. Sometimes the conversation will help you realise something about yourself that you hadn’t thought of before. Or sometimes the rounds will bring something which helps you think through your work and how you, and others, deal with it on a daily basis.

Finally Schwartz Rounds bring cake (or sandwiches) – and food is always a good thing!

If it’s worth doing…

As with anything that is worth doing, Schwartz Rounds require a team of individuals who are committed and who are willing to put the work in.

It’s not always plain sailing and we have had to cancel some rounds because we couldn't find anyone to present on the panel; being a small organisation we can struggle to find speakers. We have also had times when we were desperately trying to think of a theme at the last minute.

However, despite these challenges our Schwartz Rounds are always well evaluated and now we wouldn't – and couldn't – imagine working without them. They are now an important part of life at Trinity and an essential part of how we support each other, understand each other and function as a dynamic, living organisation.

The Point of Care Foundation has developed a new online training programme for Schwartz Rounds, specifically to support smaller organisations, such as hospices, who want to implement Schwartz Rounds. For more information contact Esther Flanagan on 020 7307 2890 or email info@pointofcarefoundation.org.uk

Article from ehospice