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New partnership to expand Schwartz Rounds provision across a large integrated care system

23 November 2021


The Point of Care Foundation and the North East London Integrated Care System have announced plans to offer Schwartz Rounds for 68,000 health and care staff working in health and care organisations across seven London Boroughs.

The Point of Care team will be working closely with colleagues at the ICS’s wellbeing hub, KeepingWellNEL, to support staff to access Rounds. The ICS is made up of a wide range of organisations including NHS, child and adult social care services and charities. This will be the first time many will have had access to Schwartz Rounds.

Schwartz Rounds are a monthly forum for all staff members – clinical and non-clinical alike – to come together and talk about the emotional challenges of their work. Discussions are led by trained facilitators to ensure they remain safe for everyone taking part. Sessions are structured around two or three people who briefly share stories from their experiences, based on a particular theme, such as ‘a colleague I will never forget’, ‘thrown in at the deep end’ or ‘what my patient taught me’. After these initial stories, anyone attending can reflect on what they have heard and, if they wish, share their own experiences.

Schwartz Rounds are named after Kenneth Schwartz, a US health attorney who died of lung cancer in the 1990s. During his illness he observed that the small acts of human kindness shown to him by his carers gave him the greatest comfort. Schwartz Rounds were designed by the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care, in Boston, Massachusetts, to support caregivers and help them to provide compassionate care to the people they are working with. They are in use at over 220 organisations across the UK and Ireland.

Creating opportunities to access Schwartz Rounds across the range of organisations within an ICS creates the potential for Rounds to impact far larger numbers of staff. It increases access to reflective practice, improving equality of access between different groups of workers.

Reflective practice is a key focus for the Point of Care Foundation during the autumn and winter, because of the challenges faced by health and care staff at the moment. 

As well as the positive benefits for individuals taking part in Rounds, they also help to break down barriers between colleagues doing different jobs, increasing understanding and empathy across organisations. This is a central role for Integrated Care Systems.