Caring for people who are suffering, in pain, or dying requires our staff to use their full reserves of compassion and empathy, day in and day out. While caring for patients and families remains our top priority, we recognise that in order to do so, we also have to take good care of our staff by ensuring they have the emotional support they need to continue providing the best level of care at all times.
Jenny Watmore-Eve, Social Work Manager, has been leading the Hospice in some pioneering work to provide emotional support to hospice staff, by introducing Schwartz Centre Rounds. St Joseph’s Hospice was the first hospice in the UK to facilitate rounds in 2012, and Jenny now works as a mentor to support other hospices and NHS sites to facilitate Schwartz Centre Rounds.
What are Schwartz Centre Rounds?
Schwartz Centre Rounds provide an opportunity for clinical and non-clinical staff from all backgrounds and levels of an organisation to come together once a month, for one hour, eat lunch or breakfast together, and explore the impact that their job has on their feelings and emotions. A panel of staff who have cared for a patient or who can relate to a theme tell their stories and this is followed by an open facilitated discussion, exploring different issues. It’s not about problem solving – rather it is a dedicated time for reflection and a safe place to share feelings such as frustration, anger, guilt, sadness, joy, gratitude and pride.
Schwartz Centre Rounds were inspired by Kenneth Schwartz, a young patient who died from lung cancer. He wrote about how small acts of kindness ‘made the unbearable bearable’ but recognised that in order for professional care givers to provide compassionate care they are required to give of themselves in a way that is not easy and deserves support.
Schwartz Rounds at the Hospice
Recently, with the help of The Point of Care Foundation (a charity which works to improve patients’ experience of care and increase support for the staff), we filmed one of our Schwartz Rounds. The Round focused on the theme of: ‘When I made a difference’. You can view the film above.