Nominations Open for Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award®
New England Caregivers Sought Who Demonstrate Extraordinary Compassion for Patients
Boston, MA (March 22, 2011) – The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the patient-caregiver relationship, is seeking nominations for its 2011 Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award®. For the first time since the program began in 1999, caregivers from all six New England states are eligible.
The winner will receive $5,000 and be honored at the Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner on November 17th at the Boston Convention Center. Last year’s event attracted more than 2,000 attendees. Four finalists will also be recognized and receive $1,000 each. Nominations are due April 22, 2011. Information on how to nominate a caregiver for this prestigious award is available on the Schwartz Center’s website.
The center and award are named after Ken Schwartz, a Boston healthcare attorney who died of lung cancer in 1995 and came to believe that medicine is about more than performing tests and surgeries, or administering drugs. As he wrote in an article published in the Boston Globe Magazine, “These functions, as important as they are, are just the beginning. For as skilled and knowledgeable as my caregivers are, what matters most is that they have empathized with me in a way that gives me hope and makes me feel like a human being, not just an illness.”
Nominees must work in a health-related organization or practice, such as a hospital, physician office, outpatient clinic, community health center, visiting nurse or home health agency, nursing home, or hospice organization. Any paid caregiver or team of caregivers with direct patient contact in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont is eligible. Nominees may include physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nursing assistants, home health aides, and chaplains – as well as interdisciplinary teams. Nominations may be made by patients or healthcare professionals.
In 2010, the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award® was given to the Haitian Mental Health Team at Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts. In 2009, the award went to Dr. Amy Ship, an internist in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. [My note: Listen to her speech here.]
The winner and finalists will be selected by a regional review committee based on how well the individual or team embodies the characteristics of compassionate healthcare, which are defined by the Schwartz Center as follows:
- Showing respect for the patient, the patient’s family, and those important to the patient
- Conveying information in a way that is understandable
- Treating the patient as a person, not just a disease
- Listening attentively to the patient
- Striving to gain the patient’s trust
- Always involving the patient in treatment decisions
- Apologizing to a patient if a caregiver makes a mistake
- Communicating test results in a timely and sensitive manner
- Comfortably discussing sensitive, emotional or psychological issues
- Considering the effect of an illness on the patient, the patient’s family, and those important to the patient
- Expressing sensitivity, caring and compassion for the patient’s situation
- Spending enough time with the patient
- Striving to understand the patient’s emotional needs
- Giving the patient hope, even when the news is bad
- Showing understanding of the patient’s cultural and religious beliefs
The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare was founded in 1995 by Ken Schwartz, a prominent Boston healthcare attorney who died of lung cancer at the age of 40. Based at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the center sponsors programs to educate, train and support caregivers to provide compassionate, patient-centered care. Its signature program, Schwartz Center Rounds, has been adopted by 215 hospitals, outpatient centers and nursing homes in 32 states and reaches more than 60,000 clinicians a year.
The Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award is made possible in part by the generosity of AstraZeneca, a leading pharmaceutical company.