Working in healthcare and dealing with traumatic or difficult situations can have a profound emotional effect on healthcare providers. Without the proper tools and support to help them manage these demands many healthcare providers can suffer from compassion fatigue.
With a vision of providing exemplary patient experiences, always, Halton Healthcare believes it is important to care for and support our staff and physicians so they can provide the best care for patients.
In early 2018, Halton Healthcare became one of the first community hospital organizations in Canada to join the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. Funded by Halton Healthcare’s Innovation Grant Program, the implementation of the Schwartz Rounds is the result of collaboration between our Kailo Employee Wellness Program and Halton Healthcare physicians.
“Schwartz Rounds provide clinicians and frontline staff a safe and compassionate environment where they can share their stories and support one another. We have experienced incredible turnout to these sessions,” noted Dr. Stephen Chin, Chief of Hospital Medicine, Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Co-Chair of the Schwartz Rounds organizing committee. “Sharing emotions and experiences surrounding a difficult or traumatic situation can be therapeutic in helping healthcare providers move forward as they realize they are not alone in their work.”
The compassion shown by staff can make all the difference to a patient’s experience of care, but in order to provide compassionate care staff and physicians must, in turn, feel supported in their work.
General Surgeon Dr. Nicole Callan has participated as one of the panelists at the Schwartz Rounds. “Sometimes as caregivers we carry around many emotions about cases that happened years ago. At the Schwartz Rounds, during a discussion I got extremely emotional as I bared my soul, lots of tears – but they weren’t just mine. The outpouring of support in that room and even afterwards was unbelievable,” recalled Dr. Callan. “The experience was rejuvenating. It allowed me to refocus my energy on being more present for my patients.”
“The Rounds provide a forum where all staff, clinical and non-clinical, come together to talk about the emotional and social aspects of working in healthcare and to share their vulnerability,” explained Louisa Nedkov, Co-ordinator, Kailo Employee Wellness Program at Halton Healthcare. “The purpose is to understand the challenges and rewards that are intrinsic to providing care. The Rounds recognize that we all need support and the opportunity to explore the emotional burden of the work of our healthcare professionals.”
Heading into 2019, Halton Healthcare will be hosting the first Canadian Schwartz Center Facilitator training program. The Schwartz Rounds-Canada Leadership Collaborative will be launched so that other Canadian healthcare organizations can experience the benefits.