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Research shows potential for Schwartz Rounds in Children’s Services

17 September 2021

New Cardiff University report recommends Schwartz Rounds for staff in Children’s Services

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A new report evaluating the impact of Schwartz Rounds for people working in Children’s Services has recommended that Local Authorities should consider implementing Schwartz Rounds in their efforts to protect staff wellbeing. 

The research, conducted by What Works for Children’s Social Care and evaluated by CASCADE, the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre at Cardiff University, ran pilot projects in ten local authorities which adopted Schwartz Rounds with support from the Point of Care Foundation. 

Researchers observed improvements in wellbeing from staff who took part in Schwartz Rounds, when compared with a control group. This was measured by improved responses to GHQ-12 questionnaires, which measure wellbeing, and reduced sickness absence among the group taking part in Rounds. Qualitative data from participants showed that Rounds were viewed positively, indicating a beneficial impact on wellbeing and mental health for those who took part. 

Study participants also said they welcomed the opportunity that Schwartz Rounds provided for discussing issues across the hierarchy of the organisation, as both junior and senior staff were encouraged to take part and discuss their experiences. This was found to encourage more openness in the workplace, to humanise Senior Leaders and break down silo working. 

The Point of Care Foundation supports over 250 organisations to operate Schwartz Rounds. While most participating organisations are in healthcare, in recent years this has diversified to include different types of organisation, such as vet practices, higher education institutions and the prison service. The principle that staff wellbeing is essential to delivering high quality care holds for a number of sectors. The Foundation is keen to support efforts to introduce Schwartz Rounds in other settings – especially where work takes a heavy emotional toll on the workforce. 

The CASCADE report found that emotional distress is felt at all levels in children’s social care organisations, beyond case-holding social workers, to support teams and managers. The work demonstrated that staff found Schwartz Rounds to be beneficial, indicating the potential for Schwartz Rounds to support staff across children’s care services. The authors also noted the low cost of running Rounds within organisations. 

The report concludes: 

“Considering the findings holistically, we found clear signs of promise in relation to the use of SRs [Schwartz Rounds] in children’s services, especially for regular attendees. The cost analysis found that the provision of SRs may be cost-neutral in relation to time saved from sickness-related absences from work. Even if this were not the case, the intervention is nonetheless relatively inexpensive. We recommend that LAs can consider providing SRs (or continue to provide SRs) as part of their efforts to support staff wellbeing. If so, regular attendees may experience tangible benefits, including lower psychological distress and fewer sickness-related absences from work, and intangible benefits, including improved subjective wellbeing and relationships with colleagues.”

Read more about the research on the What Works for Children’s Social Care website.