Tak­ing care of those who look af­ter oth­ers s“

Drogheda Independent - - NEWS - BY ALI­SON COMYN

‘Amaz­ing hour to­gether with my work fam­ily, I will def­i­nitely think more about ev­ery­one’s roles and jobs and how they might be deal­ing with ter­ri­ble, or sad or dif­fi­cult sce­nar­ios…’

These were the words of one par­tic­i­pant fol­low­ing a Schwartz Round held re­cently in Our Lady of Lour­des hos­pi­tal in Drogheda.

Schwartz Rounds pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for staff to re­flect on the emo­tional as­pects of their work. They cre­ate a safe space which can be very emo­tion­ally charged. Rounds have been shown to im­pact on staff well­be­ing, re­silience and sup­port which ul­ti­mately in­flu­ences pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence of care. The feel­ing cre­ated at a Sch­warz Round is one of calm­ness, which can best be de­scribed as a gath­er­ing of souls that all con­nect on an emo­tional and spir­i­tual level.

Dif­fer­ent pan­el­lists each month gen­er­ously share their per­sonal in­sights of con­nec­tions with oth­ers - col­leagues, pa­tients and fam­ily mem­bers - and of the bonds that are cre­ated on a hu­man level with ev­ery hu­man con­nec­tion. One panel­list urged us to al­ways re­mem­ber to not be afraid to dis­play ap­pre­ci­a­tion of peo­ple in your life that sup­port and nur­ture you. One of the deep learn­ing for me was that as pro­fes­sion­als we tend to quickly de­cide what a pa­tients needs and wants with­out truly lis­ten­ing to them...We heard the story of a man strug­gling to com­mu­ni­cate fol­low­ing a stroke: his real in­ten­tion in mas­ter­ing the al­pha­bet board was not to ask to sit out, to go for a walk but to ex­press to his wife that he loved her.

Another panel­list shared the ex­pe­ri­ence of re­duc­ing a pa­tient’s anx­i­ety though sit­ting with him and tak­ing the time to lis­ten to him to be in his pres­ence. It was only as he ap­proached his death that he con­fided that he be­lieved she re­minded him of his for­mer love, the one who got away. Her gen­tle pres­ence with him helped to calm his spirit and brought him the seren­ity to face his death at peace with the world. Hospi­tals are ex­ceed­ingly busy places, but it is im­por­tant for ev­ery­body to take the time to con­nect in the mo­ment, to re­flect, to make full use of all your senses as you nav­i­gate your day.

Shar­ing of these beau­ti­ful sto­ries has meant that Schwartz Rounds have be­come a way of life in Co Louth hospi­tals. So pop­u­lar are the rounds, that staff in­sti­gate the de­scent on the RCSI Build­ing 30 min­utes be­fore round be­gin to se­cure a place in the lim­ited 100 seat au­di­to­rium.

97% of staff sur­veyed found the Schwartz Rounds ben­e­fi­cial with 98% stat­ing that they would rec­om­mend them to a work col­league. Some of the staff feed­back in­cluded:

‘I found this an ex­tremely emo­tional ses­sion. We re­ally need to look af­ter one another (which we don’t do). We can be very un­aware of one another and we have no idea what they may be go­ing through’.

‘Very mov­ing, we all need to recog­nise that no mat­ter what our role is, we all need to talk and lis­ten’.

‘Very pow­er­ful!! It re­ally makes me re­flect and to re­alise that it is so im­por­tant to find joy even in the most dif­fi­cult of times’.

At­tend­ing Schwartz Rounds can be ex­pe­ri­enced as both sup­port­ive and trans­for­ma­tive. Staff re­port a de­creased feel­ing of stress and iso­la­tion, im­proved team work and in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary com­mu­ni­ca­tion, in­creased in­sight into so­cial and emo­tional as­pects of pa­tient care and con­fi­dence to deal with non-clin­i­cal is­sues re­lat­ing to pa­tients and changes in de­part­men­tal or or­gan­i­sa­tion wide prac­tices as a re­sult of in­sights that have arisen from dis­cus­sions within the Schwartz Rounds.

Credit must be ex­tended to Juanita Guidera and her team in Qual­ity Im­prove­ment Di­vi­sion for sup­port­ing the train­ing of staff through the Point of Care Foun­da­tion and to the hos­pi­tal man­age­ment in the Louth Hospi­tals for openly wel­com­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of this ex­pe­ri­ence for staff. Fi­nally, to Dr Ais­ling O Gor­man (Clin­i­cal Lead), Ciaran Con­lon and Louise Carolan (Fa­cil­i­ta­tors) and their back­ground com­mit­tee for giv­ing of their time to pro­vide such a ben­e­fi­cial sup­port to the well­be­ing of their col­leagues.

Schwartz Round in Our Lady of Lour­des hos­pi­tal has proved a great suc­cess

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