Talking about caring in ‘Schwartz Rounds’

Health care providers at an academic medical center routinely attend lectures on a variety of topics. At Upstate, they gather with other staff for Schwartz Center Rounds, a multidiscipliary forum where caregivers discuss social and emotional issues that arise in caring for patients.

Healthcare workers spoke recently about an 85-year-old man who appeared to be at the end of life, but whose family insisted that everything be done to save him.

A nurse who cared for the man saw suffering on his face. She felt helpless. “If we can’t save a patient, the most important thing for nurses and health providers is to make the patient comfortable. And we couldn’t make this patient comfortable.”

When the man’s heart stopped, the family insisted that staff perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation for more than an hour. Some families have false hopes. The nurse told the Schwartz Rounds group that she and her coworkers have since recovered, “but it’s a case you cannot forget.”

Schwartz Rounds organizer Virginia Larson, from Upstate’s Spiritual Care Department, says “this case, and others like it, affected caregivers so profoundly because they care so much.”

Hear an interview with Larson on this subject


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