Introduction Schwartz Rounds are a structured forum where staff come together to discuss the emotional and social aspects of their work. Despite some obstacles, Compton Care held its first Schwartz Round in October 2021. Due to the pandemic, rounds were virtual. The challenges and successes experienced are described.
Aim The hospice agreed a Wellbeing Strategy in January 2020. Schwartz Rounds were part of the associated action plan. The aim was to introduce regular rounds to support staff in their work, reduce feelings of stress and isolation, and give valuable insight and appreciation into each other’s roles.
Methods A clinical lead was identified, a steering group established, and external funding sought. Team members gained valuable experience from liaising with and attending rounds in other organisations. Links were established with the Point of Care Foundation. Due to the pandemic, tricky decisions had to be made regarding best timing. Supporting staff wellbeing became more important than ever, however, this had to be balanced with finding enough time, energy, and headspace to drive forward this new initiative. Virtual rather than face-to-face rounds had to be considered.
Results External funding was secured pre-pandemic. Organisational sign up with the Point of Care Foundation was delayed until January 2021. Online training took place March - May 2021. A decision was made to commence the rounds virtually, alternate months. The first round took place in October 2021 with support from an experienced facilitator. Rounds have been well attended and have evaluated positively. The digital format has brought its challenges, but also many unanticipated benefits.
Discussion Digital technology enabled our hospice to introduce Schwartz Rounds during the pandemic when face-to-face gatherings were not an option, but the intervention was much needed for staff wellbeing. We have embraced the unanticipated benefits of virtual rounds and intend to keep this format longer-term.
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