Talking about emotions is good for staff...and patients!

For the past four years, the Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH) has been holding Schwartz Care Rounds. But what are the Schwartz Care Rounds?

Held every six weeks, these meetings are intended to be a time for exchange, where all staff (clinical and non-clinical) from the MCH and the Women's Health Mission can get together and share their experience as healthcare workers on specific themes. Unlike other forums, the focus is on the emotional and social aspects of their work. The emphasis is on the individual’s experience as a person and a professional, rather than on the tasks of care.

The goal? To support compassionate care. Schwartz Care Rounds (SCR) reduce stress and isolation among staff. They also improve communication among healthcare workers and reduce the sense of hierarchy.

"This is especially important right now with the COVID-19 pandemic," adds Matthew Park, social worker in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and co-chair of the Schwartz Care Rounds at the MCH.

With these workshops, staff reaffirm motivation for their work and compassion for their colleagues, which necessarily reflects on patient care.

Used around the world

Schwartz Care Rounds were created in 1997 by the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center and were first implemented at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Today, they are held in more than 400 healthcare organizations in the United States and Canada, as well as more than 120 in the United Kingdom. Their effectiveness has been demonstrated in several studies published in peer-reviewed journals, including Academic Medicine.

The MCH was the first pediatric hospital in the world to hold this type of meeting specifically for an intensive care unit. The PICU is where it all began, but the workshops are now being expanded throughout the hospital.

Process

The SCR multidisciplinary committee chooses a theme after discussion. Panellists are selected across professional sectors. On the day of Rounds, they set the tone by sharing their experiences. Then the discussion is open to all. Between 40 and 80 people usually attend these meetings. Due to the pandemic, they are currently held virtually.

The workshops are recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for continuing education credits.

The next Schwartz Care Rounds will be held as a part of the Pediatric Grand Rounds on February 23, 2022, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. For more information, please contact Stephanie Mardakis at [email protected], Matthew Park at [email protected] or Amanda Cervantes at [email protected].