Schwartz Rounds: supporting the emotional wellbeing of hospice staff

Categories: Care.

Schwartz Rounds provide a structured space for all staff in the hospice, including volunteers and those from domestic and catering departments, to come together to share experiences focused on the emotional burden of working in healthcare.

Unlike other forums, they do not seek to change care processes but offer a purely reflective space for staff to understand the realities of work faced on a daily basis in the organisation.

Hospice staff have reported that, by listening to their colleagues, they have developed a greater sense shared purpose and feel less isolated in their work (1).

Rounds also help to reduce hierarchies as staff are not viewed in terms of their professional title or level of seniority, but as human beings with shared emotional responses.

A report written by my colleague Joanna Goodrich last year showed that hospice staff must feel valued and supported in their work in order to provide compassionate care (2). Schwartz Rounds foster this sense of support by sharing the burden of care.    

Topics that have been discussed at rounds in hospices include: 

  • Tears at the wedding: how it feels to help people to get married who are close to death.
  • Why am I here? What motivates staff to work in end of life care.
  • The hospice as an island: feeling isolated or in a bubble.

These topics get to the heart of why staff come to work and strive to do the best for patients despite challenges. 

Participants from a recent round at a hospice said they “felt that the discussion enabled real expression of emotion – authentically expressed” and that they were “able to listen to everyone’s views and appreciate how differently people approach patient care.”

“This made me understand that our staff who work directly with patients are more than special. We are really protected working as part of the admin team. It is a privilege to work with so many dedicated people,” added another participant.

If you are interested in running Schwartz Rounds in your hospice, you will need to apply to The Point of Care Foundation. The next deadline for applications is 20 June 2016. For more information please email Esther Flanagan (


  1. Reed E, Cullen A, Gannon C, Knight A. Use of Schwartz Centre Rounds in a UK hospice: Findings from a longitudinal evaluation. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 2014; 29(4): 365-366.
  2. Goodrich J, Harrison T, Cornwell J. Resilience: A framework supporting hospice staff to flourish in stressful times. London: Hospice UK; 2015.

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