Forum Facilitates Caregiver Discussion of Emotional Issues in Patient Care

A forum where health care professionals can discuss social and emotional issues that arise in patients with cancer has had strong turnouts.
A forum where health care professionals can discuss social and emotional issues that arise in patients with cancer has had strong turnouts.

ORLANDO, FL—Schwartz Center Rounds, a forum where health care professionals can discuss social and emotional issues that arise when caring for patients with cancer and their families, have had strong turnouts and garnered positive evaluations from participants, according to a presentation at the ONS 40th Annual Congress.

In Fall 2013, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center (UH SCC) in Cleveland, Ohio, launched Schwartz Center Rounds, which rapidly has become the evidence-based platform for a structured support system for the professional caregiver, said Wendy Rowehl Miano, MSN, DNP, ACON, of the cancer center.

She explained that the mission of the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care—to “promote compassionate health care so that patients and their caregivers relate to one another in a way that provides hope to the patient, support to the caregivers, and sustenance to the healing process—resonated with UH SCC's desire to provide care to professional caregivers.”

Working through a Cleveland-based nonprofit organization that provides services to patients with cancer and their families, the multidisciplinary team steering committee secured a facilitator who had a background as a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist.

This “positioned her well for managing the complex feelings and vulnerability that would surface,” Miano said.

“Topics have ranged from the care of a dying young person and his family to the patient seeking every last treatment option while the team struggled with nonbeneficial treatments,” she reported.

After each session, the steering committee debriefed to assess “where the audience was in their ability to attend to their feelings. Often, the debriefing has stimulated future themes,” Miano said.

“In the first 2 years, we have learned to reach out to patients' and families' core health care team members prior to SCR and to establish frequency and time of day,” she explained.

Benefits include best practice sharing for self care, normalizing the emotional toll and the difficulty in caring for patients with cancer and their families, “coaching one another in the value of being present, sharing the human side of health care, and affording a better understanding of our teams allowing more respect,” she concluded.

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