Background Schwartz Rounds have been running at our hospice for over four years. They are now a bedrock to support staff with the emotional burden of the work we do. They run every two months and attract growing numbers from different staff groups across the hospice. There are pockets of staff who rarely attend rounds, one of these groups is volunteers. We have over 200 volunteers at the hospice and they are integral to caring for our patients.
Aims We wanted to involve more volunteers in hospice Schwartz Rounds. We are aware that they are giving their time generously and that attending additional meetings or events may be onerous. We are also aware that may of the volunteers have close patient contact, and whilst being well supported by our volunteer development officer, they may appreciate time to reflect on their work.
Methods We successfully recruited a volunteer to our Schwartz steering group. We then attended one of the regular volunteer meetings and spent a short time showing the Schwartz video and talking about Rounds. There was enough interest to organise a pop- up Round. At their next regular volunteer meeting, we ran a pop-up Round with three volunteers as storytellers – ‘What energises me in my role at Marie Curie’.
Results 26 volunteers attended. The storytellers came from different roles; a chaplain, a receptionist and a helper. The discussion was lively, insightful and heart-warming. Volunteers talked about the positive effect that volunteering had brought to their lives. Evaluation was all incredibly positive with volunteers valuing the opportunity to talk about the emotional impact of their work and heightening their appreciation for others’ roles. Many were keen to attend future hospice rounds.
Conclusions The pop-up Round was a real success and has, along with other measures, increased the cohesiveness of paid staff and volunteers.
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