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May 2017  Issue No. 21

Noteworthy

Save the Date: Caring for the Human Spirit Conference, April 23-25, 2018
 
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network will be hosting its 5th annual Caring for the Human Spirit Conference: Integrating Spiritual Care in Health Care at Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, LA, April 23-25, 2018. There will be a multitude of workshops for chaplains, nurses, social workers, physicians and other healthcare professionals to earn continuing education credits and/or hours.
A new addition to the upcoming meeting will be the inaugural Spiritual Care Association Meeting: an event that will include a reception on the Tuesday night and a breakfast on the Wednesday morning. More information will be made available shortly.
Spiritual Care Association collaborates with 12 international offices
 
In 13 months, the Spiritual Care Association (SCA) has made its presence felt in various countries, most notably in the ones where it collaborates with 12 international offices: China, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Malawi, Pakistan, Singapore, Ukraine and Zambia (two offices). SCA supports each organization with resources, training, and, together, advance the importance of spiritual care and the profession of chaplaincy.

Spiritual Care

Visual tool to assist support spirituality of elderly

Developed by Dr. Julie Fletcher, in partnership with Meaningful Ageing Australia, ConnectTo, is a visual tool that represents a person's connection to five spiritual areas: self, others, nature, creative and "something bigger." (Aged Care Guide)

Palliative Care

Uruguay to organize National Spiritual Care Initiative

As the first country to pass the Inter-American Convention on the Rights of Older Persons, the small South American country of Uruguay is on the path to proposing a national spiritual care initiative headed by Uruguay Palliative Care Association. (Huffington Post)

Viewpoints: Palliative Care

Promoting National Hospice and Palliative Care Week in Canada

May 7-13, 2017, was National Hospice and Palliative Care week in Canada. The theme this year was "Hospice Palliative Care is about living well. Right to the end." It is suggested that if Canadian patients had access to quality palliative care, less would look to assisted suicide as an option. (Montreal Gazette)

Health Report

Culture of wellbeing tied to technology

Physical health is influenced by a variety of factors that include exercise, proper diet, mental health, social interactions and genes. Technology can also be added onto this list. The mixture of marketing and consumerism has given the rise to technology leading the way on impacting modifications in health care that can play a big role in the landscape of the U.S. healthcare industry. (J.Walter Thompson Intelligence)


Professional Practice

Telehealth improving access to Palliative Care
 
Living in rural and resource poor areas should not limit a person's access to palliative care. With the use of telehealth - including telechaplaincy - Palliative Care clinician and founder of ResolutionCare, Michael Fratkin, is able to provide to the needs of his patients even from afar. (GeriPal)

End-of-Life Care
 
How to have a better death with Palliative Care
 
Roughly two-thirds of deaths occur in a hospital or nursing home. It is no surprise that most people in good health prefer to die a pain-free death at home. Palliative care can aid in this transition.
Read more

Good Reads

People are less religious, but more spiritual
 
Being spiritual does not equate to being religious. While 11% of American attended a religious gathering weekly in 2010 compared to 17% in 1990 -- according to data from General Social Review -- more people have placed themselves in spiritual spaces, such as hospitals, state prisons, cemeteries, prayer rooms, nursing homes and colleges. (RealClearReligion)

 Read more

Overcoming grief
 
Facebook Chief Operating Officer and author of Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, lost her husband, Dave Goldberg (Survey Monkey CEO) in 2015. In her new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy, Sandberg chronicles the path to help the bereaved recover and find happiness. (TIME)
Read more 
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April 2017  Issue No. 20

Noteworthy

Spiritual Care Association Celebrates One-Year Anniversary
 
The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) marked its one-year anniversary on April 11, bolstered by significant growth in size and stature since its formation. The nonprofit international organization, an affiliate of the 56-year-old HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN), has garnered more than 1,300 members -- chaplains and other health care professionals, clergy and organizations -- and has a presence in 12 countries. Also of note, SCA has begun certifying chaplains, utilizing its certifying process grounded in evidence-based knowledge and objective testing that ensures demonstration of clinical competencies. (Spiritual Care Association)
 
HCCN/SCA President Recognized for Significant Contributions to Field
 
The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) presented Rev. Eric J. Hall, president and CEO of HCCN and SCA, with its 2017 Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to the Clinical Pastoral Field at the organization's conference in March. CPSP's Robert Charles Powell, M.D., Ph.D., said of Hall's work: "A new outsider now has tried to discern the essence -- the commonality -- of what the various clinical pastoral organizations have been trying to accomplish."  (College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy)

Presentations for physicians, nurses,
social workers and chaplains
 
Venue: Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York

Research Review

Standardized Palliative Care Consultation Criteria Improves Quality of Care

A new study among hospitalized patients with advanced cancer demonstrates that the standardized use of triggers for palliative care consultation is associated with a substantial impact on multiple quality measures, including declines in 30-day readmission rates and an overall increase in support measures following discharge. (Journal of Oncology Practice) 


Palliative Care

Charter Emphasizes Palliative Care for Older Persons

Representatives from major religions and palliative care organizations, who met in Rome on March 30 to address the pressing need for palliative care for older persons, approved a charter that recognizes that "each older person has full value and human rights, and contributes to society including when fragile and in need of care." The charter also calls on caregivers, policy makers, spiritual and religious leaders, and others to advance access to palliative care for older persons. (ehospice)


Spiritual Care

UK Debates the Value of Hospital Chaplains

While many describe hospital chaplaincy care as "invaluable," others are questioning its worth in the UK. The debate: In these times of austerity and with almost half the population of England and Wales identifying as having no religion, are chaplains really worth the expense to the National Health Service trusts?  
(The Guardian) 


Professional Practice

Telehealth Is Opening Doors for Hospice and Palliative Care
 
A handful of palliative care services across the country have found ways to incorporate telehealth into their continuum of services. Hospices, too, are exploring regulatory and practical requirements and opportunities, according to Judi Lund Person, vice president, regulatory and compliance, for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Have we just scratched the surface? 
(AAHPM Quarterly)
 

Patient Experience

New C-Suite Position to Watch: Chief Experience Officers
 
As payers tie more reimbursement to patient satisfaction scores and demonstrated outcomes, and as patients are more informed about the choices they can make, health systems are increasingly developing new ways to improve performance. Some of these methods include the creation of new executive roles aimed at ensuring patients and caregivers have the tools they need for success. Among them: chief experience officer (CXO), which is driven by the desire to improve the larger patient experience -- a combination of excellence in clinical care and patient perception -- and the experience of caregivers. (Managed Healthcare Executive)

Read more

Advocacy Update

Petition Tells Congress That 'Spiritual Care Matters'
 
SCA and HCCN are spearheading an online petition that calls on Congress "to recognize spiritual care as a key aspect of whole-person health care; and to support and facilitate expanded access to optimal spiritual care and resources across health care settings." The groups are urging consumers and health care professionals to sign the petition to send a strong message to Congress that "spiritual care matters." (Spiritual Care Association) 

Read more

Sign the petition
Senate Leaders Reintroduce Chronic Care Act
 
Bipartisan leaders of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee recently introduced the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 (S. 870). Largely unchanged from the original bill introduced in the last Congress, it would implement Medicare payment policies designed to cost-effectively improve management of chronic disease, streamline care coordination, and improve quality outcomes. Of interest is section 502, which requires the Government Accountability Office to study the formulation of a comprehensive care plan for beneficiaries, which includes an examination of interdisciplinary teams that "may include a chaplain, minister, or other clergy ..." HCCN is urging Senate sponsors to further refine the act by changing the word "may" to "shall," which would ensure consideration of spiritual health as part of the study.  
 
Read more

Good Reads

Mongolia: A Surprisingly Good Place to Die
 
A campaigning doctor has helped make Mongolia a better place to die than many much wealthier nations. For a country that had no palliative care to speak of barely a decade ago, the change has been dramatic. Among the advances, all of Mongolia's 21 provincial hospitals as well as the nine district hospitals in Ulan Bator have at least five palliative care beds, and the National Health Service now has to provide palliative care by law. (Mosaic)

Read more 
Israeli Family Hopes for 'A Good Day'
 
The only supportive and palliative care center for children in Israel has opened on Jerusalem's Mount Scopus. It is here that one family, whose eight-and-a-half-year-old daughter has an extremely rare and incurable genetically transmitted neurodegenerative disorder, hopes for a good day. (The Jerusalem Post)

Read more 
 
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New York, N.Y. (April 10, 2017)—“Spiritual Care: What It Means, Why It Matters & Your Role on the Interdisciplinary Team” will be explored at an educational forum for health care professionals on May 10 in New York.

Presented by HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) and the Spiritual Care Association (SCA), the forum will feature an interdisciplinary panel and specific sessions for physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains. It will take place at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller Research Laboratories, 430 E. 67th St., New York, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. for nurses, social workers, chaplains and others. Physicians can attend a physicians’-only session from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., or participate in the entire program.

The program reflects the view that “collaboration among various health care disciplines is essential for providing effective, compassionate whole-person care to patients and their families across clinical settings,” the organizations said. Its goals include increasing the effectiveness of interdisciplinary health care team in providing spiritual care, and improving the quality of life, medical outcomes, and health care experience for patients.

Presenters are: Deborah Marin, M.D., Blumenthal Professor of Psychiatry and director of the Center for Spirituality and Health at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York; Melissa Stewart, LCSW-R, senior clinical social worker at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Rev. Kevin Massey, MDiv, BCC, vice president-mission and spiritual care at Advocate Health Care, Downers Grove, Ill.; and Cristy DeGregory, Ph.D., RN, a gerontologist and clinical assistant professor at the College of Nursing, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UASOM) and the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network. The UASOM is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of Alabama School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity is pending approval from the National Association of Social Workers, and has been submitted to the Maryland Nurses Association for approval to award contact hours. The cost is $150, including breakfast. For more information and to register, visit http://bit.ly/2mIcsnt.

 

About HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ (HCCN), founded in 1961, is a global health care nonprofit organization that offers spiritual care-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Its mission is to advance the integration of spiritual care in health care through clinical practice, research and education in order to improve patient experience and satisfaction and to help people faced with illness and grief find comfort and meaning--whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are. For more information, visit www.healthcarechaplaincy.org, call 212-644-1111, follow on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

 

About the Spiritual Care Association

The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) is the first multidisciplinary, international professional membership association for spiritual care providers that includes a comprehensive evidence-based model that defines, delivers, trains and tests for the provision of high-quality spiritual care. SCA is a nonprofit affiliate of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network. Visit www.spiritualcareassociation.org, call 212-644-1111, follow on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

 

Media contact: Carol Steinberg csteinberg@healthcarechaplaincy.org 212-644-1111, ext.121

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 SPIRITUAL CARE ASSOCIATION URGES CONSUMERS, HEALTH PROFESSIONALS TO TELL CONGRESS ‘SPIRITUAL CARE MATTERS’

 

New York, N.Y. (March 27, 2017)—The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) and its affiliate, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) are spearheading a petition that calls on Congress “to recognize spiritual care as a key aspect of whole-person health care; and to support and facilitate expanded access to optimal spiritual care and resources across health care settings.”

The groups, both leading nonprofit organizations in the field of spiritual care, are urging consumers and health care professionals to sign the online petition to send a strong message to Congress that “spiritual care matters.” The petition is available at www.change.org/p/tell-congress-that-spiritual-care-matters

“It’s time to stand together to put spiritual care on the radar of policy makers,” said Rev. Eric J. Hall, president and CEO of SCA and HCCN. “When we talk about patient-centered care and whole-person care, we must include spiritual care. A unified call for action is critical to ensure that spiritual care becomes more mainstream, so that patients and their families receive optimal support in what is often their greatest time of need.”

The petition notes that a significant body of evidence supports the efficacy of spiritual care as a value-added service in health care, including a positive relationship between spirituality and health and well-being, as well as a correlation between spiritual support and patient satisfaction and lower cost of care.

It also points out that authoritative bodies emphasize the inclusion of spiritual care in health care. Most recently, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates adopted a policy recognizing “the importance of individual patient spirituality and its impact on health and encourages patient access to spiritual care services."

In addition, the petition cites patients and family members on the merits of spiritual support, including speaking with a professional chaplain: According to one individual quoted in the petition: “Without someone to talk with, my health problems seemed overwhelming, I am so glad I found you because talking with you has eased my burden.”

Separately, SCA and HCCN are encouraging consumers and health care professionals to contact their U.S. senators to influence legislation related to the inclusion of chaplains on interdisciplinary health care teams.

Specifically, in the last session of Congress, bipartisan leaders of the Senate Finance Committee introduced S. 3504, the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2016; the legislation is likely to be reintroduced in the current Congress. Of interest is section 502, which requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the formulation of a comprehensive plan of longitudinal care for Medicare beneficiaries with serious or life-threatening illnesses, which includes an examination of interdisciplinary care teams that, as defined by the legislation, “may include a chaplain, minister, or other clergy …”

“Given the importance of spiritual care to individuals facing chronic conditions and assessing end-of-life options, we urge the Senate sponsors to further refine the CHRONIC Care Act by changing the word ‘may’ to ‘shall.’ This would ensure that spiritual health will be considered as part of the GAO’s study,” said Hall. “Moreover, it would mark another step toward inclusion of spiritual care and enhanced overall health care.”

 

About the Spiritual Care Association

The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) is the first multidisciplinary, international professional membership association for spiritual care providers that includes a comprehensive evidence-based model that defines, delivers, trains and tests for the provision of high-quality spiritual care. SCA is a nonprofit affiliate of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network. Visit www.spiritualcareassociation.org, call 212-644-1111, follow on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

About HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ (HCCN), founded in 1961, is a global health care nonprofit organization that offers spiritual care-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Its mission is to advance the integration of spiritual care in health care through clinical practice, research and education in order to improve patient experience and satisfaction and to help people faced with illness and grief find comfort and meaning--whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are. For more information, visit www.healthcarechaplaincy.org, call 212-644-1111, follow on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

Media contact: Carol Steinberg csteinberg@healthcarechaplaincy.org 212-644-1111, ext.121

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March 2017  Issue No. 19
Noteworthy

Evidence-based White Paper on Nurses' Role in Spiritual Care Released
 
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and its affiliate, the Spiritual Care Association, on March 13 released the first evidence-based white paper on the integration of spiritual care in nursing practice --"Spiritual Care and Nursing: A Nurse's Contribution and Practice." The new white paper is designed to help guide the field, empowering nurses to better integrate basic levels of spiritual care into their practice, raise their comfort levels in addressing spiritual issues, and understand when to refer to professional chaplains to provide in-depth support. (HealthCare Chaplaincy Network/Spiritual Care Association)
 
HealthCare Chaplaincy Honors Two Pioneers for Outstanding Health Care Leadership
 
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network presented its prestigious Pioneer Award for Outstanding Leadership in Health Care to Roshi Joan Jiko Halifax, Ph.D., founder of the Upaya Zen Center and Institute, Santa Fe, N.M.; and Elizabeth Johnston Taylor, Ph.D., RN, a professor at Loma Linda University School of Nursing, Loma Linda, Calif. HCCN bestowed the awards during its 4th annual Caring for the Human Spirit Conference, held Chicago March 13-15 in Chicago and attended by professional chaplains, doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health care professionals from 18 countries. (HealthCare Chaplaincy Network) 


Spiritual Care

New Spiritual Care Communication Board Helps ICU Patients Express Spiritual Needs

A new spiritual care communication board created by the Pastoral Care & Education Department at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is helping mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) communicate their emotional and spiritual needs. Working with a chaplain, patients point to words or illustrations that indicate their spiritual or religious affiliation, emotional state, spiritual needs, and desired chaplain intervention. The overall purpose of the board is to reduce anxiety in patients and ensure they receive the most appropriate spiritual care. (Newswise)

On the Job Profile: Hospital Chaplain's Work Is a Blessing and a Challenge
 
As part of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network's mission to inform the public and professionals about the role of chaplains, HCCN liaised with a reporter and local chaplain to facilitate an article in The Boston Globe that highlighted chaplaincy as a career. The Globe spoke with Alyssa Adreani, a chaplain at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, about how hospital chaplains are considered part of the treatment team, sometimes even improving health outcomes. "Everyone has a story -- it is my privilege to listen to it," Adreani said. (The Boston Globe)


Palliative Care

Early Palliative Care Benefits Children With Cancer

In a study aimed at establishing whether pediatric cancer patients have unmet needs at the initiation of cancer therapy, and whether patient and family attitudes are a barrier to early palliative care involvement, researchers found that a significantly higher percentage of children -- median age of 14 -- than parents reported that initiating palliative care near the time of diagnosis would have been helpful for treating symptoms. In addition, a higher percentage of children endorsed palliative care intervention if pain or symptom management was a problem if the cancer worsened or returned and throughout the entirety of the cancer care. (Healio) 

UK Survey Informs Oncology Care Research Agenda

Asked about priorities for future research to improve care, cancer patients identified palliative and end-of-life care information, while oncology nurses highlighted the use of eHealth and technology to manage cancer symptoms at home, according to researchers at the University of Surrey in England. In addition, patients cited cognitive changes from cancer treatment; and patients and nurses identified factors affecting the early presentation of cancer symptoms, and the availability of psychosocial support services and the post-treatment management of anxiety following treatment. (UPI)


Home-Based Care

Emergency Visits Decline for Dying Patients Receiving Palliative Care at Home
 
Community-based palliative care -- care delivered at home, not the hospital -- was associated with an average 50 percent reduction in emergency department visits for patients in their last year of life, according to a study that reviewed 12,000 records for patients who died of cancer, heart failure, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and/or liver failures in Western Australia from 2009 to 2010. The greatest reduction was seen in patients who were older, had a partner, lived in major cities and more affluent areas, and had no prior history of emergency department visits. (Dotmed.com)
 
Innovative Home Visit Models Associated With Reduced Costs, Hospitalizations
 
Researchers evaluated five models of teams led by registered nurses or lay health workers (practice-extender teams) who provide home visits to Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions, and found that two of them achieved significant reductions in Medicare expenditures, and three others reduced emergency department visits, hospitalizations, or both for beneficiaries relative to comparators. (Health Affairs) 
 
 
 
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ (HCCN), founded in 1961, is a global health care nonprofit organization that offers spiritual care-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Its mission is to advance the integration of spiritual care in health care through clinical practice, research and education in order to improve patient experience and satisfaction and to help people faced with illness and grief find comfort and meaning--whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are. For more information, visit www.healthcarechaplaincy.org,  call 212-644-1111, follow us on Twitter or connect with us on Facebook
The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) is the first multidisciplinary, international professional membership association for spiritual care providers that includes a comprehensive evidence-based model that defines, delivers, trains and tests for the provision of high-quality spiritual care. SCA, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, is a nonprofit affiliate of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, a global nonprofit organization focused on spiritual-related clinical care, research and education. Visit www.SpiritualCareAssociation.org, call 212-644-1111, follow on Twitter or connect on Facebook.
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LEADING SPIRITUAL CARE ORGANIZATIONS RELEASE FIRST EVIDENCE-BASED WHITE PAPER EXPLORING NURSES’ ROLE IN PROVIDING SPIRITUAL SUPPORT

NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 13, 2017)–HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) and its affiliate, the Spiritual Care Association (SCA) today released the first evidence-based white paper on the integration of spiritual care in nursing practice—“Spiritual Care and Nursing: A Nurse’s Contribution and Practice.”

The new white paper is designed to help guide the field, empowering nurses to better integrate basic levels of spiritual care into their practice, raise their comfort levels in addressing spiritual issues, and understand when to refer to professional chaplains to provide in-depth support. It is available online at
www.healthcarechaplaincy.org/spiritualcare/nursing.

According to academic studies cited in the report, many nurses recognize their role in caring for their “patients in their entirety . . . [and] in this meeting, in this area with those who are vulnerable and in pain, nurses can and must find space to achieve the spiritual care.” Yet, “most nurses have had minimal training and education around providing spiritual care to their patients, and often have even less comfort attempting to do so.”

At the same time, while most patients and families do not anticipate in-depth spiritual support from their nurses, a high percentage of patients have expressed a desire for providers, including nurses, to ask about and potentially address spiritual and religious concerns.

“The white paper highlights that nursing has long been associated with spirituality and meaning making,” said Rev. Eric J. Hall, president and CEO of HCCN and SCA, and one of the contributors to the white paper. “It’s time to reinforce nurses’ valuable contribution to spiritual care and build on it, especially given today’s increasing recognition that whole-person and patient-engaged care relies, to varying extents, on the entire interdisciplinary team. This can powerfully influence optimal health care.”

With contributions by SCA’s nursing advisory board and chaplaincy leaders, the white paper lays out the roles of nurses as spiritual care generalists and professional chaplains as spiritual care specialists. It notes that providing proactive spiritual care has been proven to have a positive impact on clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and cost.

Among the questions explored are: What can a nurse do to address the spiritual needs of a patient or family member? How is spirituality the same or different from religion? When should a nurse refer a patient or family to a professional chaplain? Is it ever ok to pray with a patient, or to share the nurse’s own faith and religious resources?

Cristy DeGregory, Ph.D., RN, a gerontologist and clinical assistant professor at the College of Nursing, University of South Carolina, who contributed to the white paper, said it is “key” to understand the role of each member of the interprofessional team in the provision of spiritual care.

“We often think spiritual care is only necessary at the end of life or reduce it to the screening assessment done upon admission. But it is important to find ways of extending spiritual care and recognizing the potential importance for all patients,” she said. “This paper is a tool to help nurses more effectively contribute to providing better integrated spiritual care.”

In addition to this white paper, ongoing efforts by HCCN and SCA to educate nurses, as well as other disciplines, include a growing number of online courses, webinars, conferences and articles on various aspects of spiritual care. In October 2016, HCCN released a transformative white paper, “SPIRITUAL CARE: What It Means, Why It Matters in Health Care.”

About HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™, based in New York, is a global health care nonprofit organization that offers spiritual-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Its mission is to advance the integration of spiritual care in health care through clinical practice, research and education in order to increase patient satisfaction and help people faced with illness and grief find comfort and meaning—whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are. For more information, visit www.healthcarechaplaincy.org, call 212-644-1111, and connect with us on twitter and Facebook.

About Spiritual Care Association
The Spiritual Care Association is the first multidisciplinary, international professional membership organization for spiritual care providers that includes a comprehensive evidence-based model that defines, delivers, trains and tests for the provision of high-quality spiritual care. Membership is open to health care professionals, including chaplains, social workers, nurses and doctors; clergy and religious leaders; and organization. SCA, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, is a nonprofit affiliate of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network. For more information, visit www.spiritualcareassociation.org, call 212-644-1111, and connect with us on twitter and Facebook.

Media contact:
Carol Steinberg
csteinberg@healthcarechaplaincy.org
212-644-111, ext.121

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February 2017  Issue No. 18
Noteworthy

Advocacy Effort: Spiritual Care Association Presses Legislators for Spiritual Care Inclusion
 
In a major step in advocacy efforts for the field of spiritual care, the Spiritual Care Association (SCA) brought spiritual care to the attention of Congress last month. Rev. Eric J. Hall, president and CEO of SCA and HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, along with the organization's legislative advisor, M. Todd Tuten of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, met with key health policy staff of Senate Finance Committee members and a bipartisan group of Committee staff. This marked the first time that advocates met with them to underscore the value of spiritual care in health care. High on SCA's agenda was discussion about S. 3504, the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2016, with an eye on solidifying the role of spiritual health in federal programs. (SCA)
 

Spiritual Care

Family-Centered Guidelines for Critical Patients Include Spiritual Care

Guidelines that identify the evidence base for best practices for family-centered care in the neonatal, pediatric, and adult intensive care unit (ICU) were published in Critical Care Medicine. The researchers made 23 recommendations from moderate, low, and very low levels of evidence that cover topics such as family presence, family support, communication with family members, and operations. Among them, the article says, "given the consistency of expression of family values for availability of spiritual care, the accreditation standard requirements, and the association with increased satisfaction, we suggest that families be offered spiritual support from a spiritual advisor or chaplain." (Critical Care Medicine) 


Palliative Care

Palliative Care Continues to Grow, Wider Access Still Needed

As the number of Americans living with serious and chronic illness has increased so has the penetration of palliative care in U.S. hospitals, with programs reaching a larger proportion of hospitalized patients in need. Despite growth in U.S. palliative care, many programs are still not adequately staffed to reach patients in need, according to a new comprehensive profile of hospital palliative care programs participating in the National Palliative Care Registry™. (PRWeb)


End-of-Life Care

Older Person's Weight Impacts 'Good Death'
 
The heavier someone is, the less likely that person will have what many people might call a "good death," with hospice care and a chance to die at home, a new study finds. That difference also comes with a financial as well as a personal cost, the research shows. (Science Daily)
 


Home-Based Care

Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Program Starts in California
 
Blue Shield of California, Hill Physicians Medical Group, and Snowline Hospice have announced a new home-based palliative care program involving an interdisciplinary group of providers -- including a physician, nurse, social worker, home health aide, and chaplain -- to deliver comprehensive care and support for seriously ill patients and their families in Sacramento, Calif. The program will provide training, resources and support to develop a successful program to be used as a model moving forward. Of interest, University of Southern California researchers also will study it to compare primary care clinic palliative care vs. home-based palliative care. (PR Newswire)
 
House Calls for Geriatric Patients Increase Among Nurse Practitioners
 
As the demand for house calls in the geriatric patient population grows, an increasing number of nurse practitioners have stepped up to provide these home visits, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. This has implications for both house-call providers and nursing education, according to one of the investigators. (Contemporary Clinic)
 

Viewpoints: Patient Experience

Perfecting Palliative Care

Making the case for providing palliative care isn't the challenge. The specialty helps patients live not just happier, but also longer lives with their disease -- while also reducing costs, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center research shows. However, despite making inroads into health systems nationwide, palliative care programs often have room for improvement. This article offers five keys for transforming palliative care in your hospital system. (HealthLeaders Media) 
 
How States Can Expand Access to Palliative Care

As the new administration strategizes how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act -- including how to shift risk and responsibility for health care payment to states and others -- the authors of this article suggest that state policy will play a more dominant role in determining who gets care, how it is paid for, and how to set and achieve a standard of quality and safety. As such, states should consider levers to expand local access to palliative care. (Health Affairs Blog)

Read more

 
 
 
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ (HCCN), founded in 1961, is a global health care nonprofit organization that offers spiritual care-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Its mission is to advance the integration of spiritual care in health care through clinical practice, research and education in order to improve patient experience and satisfaction and to help people faced with illness and grief find comfort and meaning--whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are. For more information, visit www.healthcarechaplaincy.org,  call 212-644-1111, follow us on Twitter or connect with us on Facebook
The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) is the first multidisciplinary, international professional membership association for spiritual care providers that includes a comprehensive evidence-based model that defines, delivers, trains and tests for the provision of high-quality spiritual care. SCA, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, is a nonprofit affiliate of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, a global nonprofit organization focused on spiritual-related clinical care, research and education. Visit www.SpiritualCareAssociation.org, call 212-644-1111, follow on Twitter or connect on Facebook.
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   January 2017  Issue No. 17
Noteworthy

HealthCare Chaplaincy Requests Research Project Information
 
One of the core initiatives of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) is to encourage, facilitate and conduct the development of evidence for the effectiveness and value of spiritual care and chaplaincy care. In pursuit of this, HCCN is investigating ways that the organization could enable researchers to carry out studies. HCCN would like to know if you have or would be interested in gathering data on an initiative you have developed or could develop. (HCCN)
 
'Caring for the Human Spirit' Conference to Highlight Value of Spiritual Care in Health Care

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) will hold its fourth annual "Caring for the Human Spirit Conference" on March 13-15 in Chicago, Ill., with a content-rich agenda focused on the further integration of spiritual care throughout health care disciplines and settings. Featured speakers are: Roshl Joan Jiko Halifax, Ph.D., founder of the Upaya Zen Center and Institute, Sante Fe, N.M.; Deborah B. Marin, M.D., Blumenthal Professor of Psychiatry, and director, Center for Spirituality and Health, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York; The Rev. Kathie Bender Schwich, MDiv, FACHE, senior vice president, Mission and Spiritual Care, Advocate Health Care, Downers Grove, Ill.; Shane Sinclair, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Cancer Care Research Professorship, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgery, Alberta; and Jason A. Wolf, Ph.D., CPXP, president, The Beryl Institute, Southlake, Texas. There will be multidisciplinary sessions and workshops designed for health care chaplains; and, new this year, specific tracks for nurses and social workers, respectively, with the opportunity to earn a certificate as a spiritual care generalist. (HCCN)
 

Research Review

On End-of-Life Care: Hospice Care Linked to Higher Family Satisfaction

Families of terminally ill cancer patients may be more satisfied with the end-of-life treatment their loved ones receive when it involves hospice care, a recent study suggests. Hospice was associated with better symptom relief, attainment of pain management goals, and quality of end-of-life care, the study found. Families of patients who received at least 30 days of hospice care reported the highest quality of life outcomes. (Reuters Health)

On Patient Experience: Go to the Wrong Hospital and Death Risk Triples

Not all hospitals are created equal, and the differences in quality can be a matter of life or death. In the first comprehensive study comparing how well individual hospitals treated a variety of medical conditions, researchers found that patients at the worst American hospitals were three times more likely to die and 13 times more likely to have medical complications than if they visited one of the best hospitals. (The New York Times)

Read more

Spiritual Care
 
National Institutes of Health Funds Study of Dignity Therapy in Elderly Cancer Patients
 
Marking one of the first times the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded a study that includes a chaplain-led spiritual care intervention, NIH's National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Nursing Research have approved a new five-year study entitled "Dignity Therapy RCT Led by Nurses or Chaplains for Elderly Cancer Outpatients." The goal of the study is to improve spiritual care outcomes for elderly patients receiving palliative care and facing a cancer diagnosis by optimizing a nurse-led or chaplain-led intervention focused on patient dignity. Diana Wilkie, Ph.D., RN, FAAN (University of Florida), Linda Emanuel, M.D. (Northwestern University), and George Fitchett, Ph.D. (Rush University Medical Center) are the principal investigators; the Rev. George Handzo of HCCN is among the co-investigators. (HCCN)


Professional Practice

Kids' Care May Suffer When Parents Clash With Medical Staff

Rude parents can rattle medical staff enough to compromise the quality of care their critically ill child receives, suggests a new study involving simulated emergency scenarios in a neonatal intensive care unit. Exposure to rudeness helped explain about 40 percent of the variance in good medical decision-making between different teams in the study, said co-author Amir Erez. The researchers also found that doctors and nurses could "inoculate" themselves against potential rudeness by taking part in computer training that decreased their emotional sensitivity, Erez said. (HealthDay)
 
Impact of Hospital-Employed Physicians on Quality of Care

While hospitals have increasingly become employers of physicians during the past decade, physician employment alone probably is not a sufficient tool for improving hospital care, according to the findings of a new study.  (Annals of Internal Medicine)

Read more

Good Reads

On End-of-Life Care: One Man's Quest to Change the Way We Die

B.J. Miller, M.D., a hospice and palliative care specialist at University of California San Francisco and a triple amputee, used his own experience to pioneer a new model of palliative care at a small, quirky hospice in San Francisco. (The New York Times Magazine)
 
On Palliative Care: Doctor Uses Family Inheritance to Improve Palliative Care

Shoshana Ungerleider, M.D., is just three years into her career as a hospitalist at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, but she is already drawing attention in the palliative care community. Two years ago, Ungerleider turned a family inheritance into a philanthropy aimed at improving palliative care, in which keeping a patient emotionally and physically comfortable takes precedence. (Stat)

Read more

Viewpoints: Palliative Care and Hospice

Eyes on the Prize Part II: Palliative Care Post-Election

As is true with any change of Administration, this is a time of uncertainty, and so it's worth evaluating the likely future of the palliative care field ----    as we continue to try to improve the care received by people with serious illnesses. Bottom line: we think the foundations of our field and the reasons for our work are not only unchanged, but heightened, as a result of the 2016 Presidential election. (CAPC)
 
American Children Deserve a Better Death

In the U.S., about 41,000 children and young adults die each year from a variety of illnesses, ranging from congenital defects to accidents. Many of them qualified for palliative care and for hospice care. But the number of dying children is dwarfed by the more than 2.5 million adults who die each year, many of whom also qualified for these end-of-life services. And that's precisely the problem: The low demand has made it very tricky to set up effective palliative care programs for children. But that doesn't mean there isn't a need.  (Slate)

Read more


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   December 2016  Issue No. 16
Noteworthy

21st Century Cures Act to Boost Treatment, Technology Funding
 
President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act on December 13 ----    an expansive and bipartisan effort to fund and treat health conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, mental health, and opioid abuse, and to speed drug development and technology innovations. 
 
New American Medical Association Policy Underscores Value of Spirituality
 
With research suggesting that patient satisfaction is lower and cost of care is higher in the absence of spiritual support from care teams, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy recognizing the importance of individual patient spirituality and its effect on health. Delegates also encouraged giving patients access to spiritual care services. (AMA Wire®)


Research Review

On Palliative Care: Study Highlights Benefit on Quality, But Not Life Extension

People who receive palliative care have better quality of life and fewer symptoms than people who don't receive such care, but there's no evidence that palliative care has any impact on how long a patient will live, according to a research review of the available evidence. The study lead author says the data "paints a pretty compelling message" that supports the value of palliative care. (HealthDay)

On Chaplaincy: Study Reveals Desire to Be Research Literate

An online survey conducted by 12 professional chaplain organizations found that more than 80 percent of chaplains surveyed thought research was definitely important and nearly 70 percent thought chaplains should definitely be research literate. The study authors note that these results "bode well for the future of chaplaincy research" and urge actions to facilitate further research engagement. (Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy)

Read more
On Spirituality: Study Shows Church, Spiritual Practices Can Relieve Postpartum Depression
 
Churches and other faith-based communities are an untapped resource that health care providers should consider when suggesting treatment options for African-American and Latina mothers who have histories of postpartum depression (PPD), according to the findings of a newly published study by a University at Buffalo-led research team. (University of Buffalo News Center)
 

End-of-Life Care

Rapid Response Teams Increase: What's Impact at End of Life?

Rapid response teams (RRT) are used extensively in many hospitals, including major cancer centers; however, research shows that adverse outcomes are more common for patients who require RRT intervention than among the general hospital population. In looking at the role of RRT, although there is a huge need for members to be involved in end-of-life care, ultimately the introduction of an RRT did not improve the quality of care being provided for those facing end-of-life concerns. (Oncology Nursing News) 
 

Viewpoints: Patient Experience

Evolving in a New Era of Women's Health

While the science of women's health is better understood than it was 20 years ago, female-focused service lines must continue to evolve to meet women's unique lifelong health needs in an ever-shifting health care landscape. This article suggests four keys to success. (HealthLeaders magazine)
 
Giving Patients an Active Role in Their Health Care

A fundamental redesign of the patient's role - from that of a passive recipient of care to an active participant charged with defined responsibilities, equipped to dispatch them, and accountable for the results ----    can help patients and their families manage their health care. The authors suggest that we view the patient's role as a job and then design that job in such a way as to drive the best health outcomes possible. (Harvard Business Review)

Read more

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HEALTHCARE CHAPLAINCY NETWORK'S
HIGH-QUALITY ONLINE CERTIFICATE COURSES
IN SPIRITUAL CARE IN PALLIATIVE CARE 
For SPIRITUAL CARE SPECIALISTS (Chaplains) and
SPIRITUAL CARE GENERALISTS (Nurses, Social Workers,
Doctors and Others)

  • FUNDAMENTALS OF SPIRITUAL CARE IN PALLIATIVE CARE
  • ADVANCED PRACTICE SPIRITUAL CARE IN PALLIATIVE CARE

 
 
 
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   November 2016  Issue No. 15
 
Patient-Centered Care News
We hope that you find this complimentary monthly e-newsletter informative. Below are short summaries of each selected item with links to the entire pieces. Also included is a downloadable PDF version for readers who prefer that format. Please feel free to send any questions or comments to comm@healthcarechaplaincy.org.

May you enjoy a Thanksgiving holiday filled with the goodness of friends and family.

Rev. Eric J. Hall
President & CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network & Spiritual Care Association
We're Giving Back on #GivingTuesday
 (November 29) and You Can Benefit 
4TH ANNUAL
Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference 
March 13-15, 2017 | Chicago, IL.
#GivingTuesday 
is November 29, and HealthCare Chaplaincy 
wants to give back!
 
On Tuesday, November 29, anyone who registers for our 
annual Caring for the Human Spirit Conference  
will automatically receive 10% off.
 
This discount will be available only on November 29 and will expire at midnight.
 
We look forward to seeing you at our conference!
Click here to learn more about the conference.
 
Advice From the Head of a Major Public Hospital System
 
Ramanathan Raju, MD, MBA, FACS, FACHE is President & Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public health care system in the U.S. He recently spoke at the World Economic Forum, and what he posted on Twitter is a good reminder for every health care provider. Dr. Raju said, "We must continue the proactive shift to value, which differs for each patient. Don't ask 'What is the matter?' ask 'What is the matter to you?"
Spirituality & Health Care

Hospice Chaplain Reflects on Life, Death and the "Strength of The Human Soul" (NPR)
 
Kerry Egan's job is to help dying people accept their own mortality. It's profoundly sad, but it's also rewarding. "I'm constantly reminded of ... how much love people have for each other, and the love that's all around us that we just don't necessarily take a moment to see," she says.
A MD Writes: Should Doctors be Allowed to Bring Their Religion to Work? (Quartz)
 
Yesterday, I stubbed my toe on an IV pole. Though not uncommon for someone working in a hospital like myself, this particular IV pole was located not in a cancer ward, but in a synagogue-the synagogue that is part of our hospital.
 
While living in the US, I expected church to be separate from state. Most US citizens regard religious liberty as a core value guaranteed by their country's Constitution. Although in practice that may not always be the case, conceptually, this is the American way.
 
When I moved from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv 19 years ago, however, I realized things were different. As there is no separation of church-er, synagogue-and state in the deeply Jewish nation of Israel, I've since given up the inviolable principle of religious liberty. Today, I reside in a country where religion is inserted into government as well as life in general.
 
Patient Experience

A Patient's Advice on How to Improve the Patient Experience (KevinMD)
 
Every patient has a story and an experience, and my patient experience began on July 6, 2004.

One month after graduating from high school, I was involved in a near-fatal car accident. My heart shifted across my chest, lungs collapsed, major organs were either lacerated or failed completely, my pelvis was shattered, and I lost 60 percent of my blood. I was airlifted to shock trauma near death and underwent immediate surgery: 14 lifesaving surgeries total. On life support and in critical condition, I was then placed in a medically induced coma for the next two months.

During my time in ICU, I had dozens of great care providers looking after me, but there were also several care providers that were excellent. The difference came from their level of compassion and communication.

Read more
"It's the Patient, Stupid."  (The Huffington Post)
 
In 1992, the other Clinton-Bill-successfully ran for President using the key message, "It's the economy, stupid." The phrase was coined by his campaign team to remind themselves and voters that the key to victory lay in focusing on the weak economy. It was a clever slogan. More importantly, it was a simple and potent reminder of what actually mattered to people.

When people talk about "patient-centered care" like it's a radical, revolutionary idea, I have a similar reaction ("It's the patient, stupid"). Who else but the patient should be at the center of the care system? Organizing the health care enterprise around the patient should be an obvious no-brainer.

And yet, the reality is that too often the patient is an afterthought. The patient winds up being secondary to the needs of providers, insurers, drug companies...everyone else with a stake in our health care system. Purchasers, providers, and payers are usually part of decision-making, but the most important "p"-the patient-is generally excluded. 
 
How Person-Centered is Your Health Care Organization? (HealthAffairsBlog)
 
The movement to transform the country's health care delivery system has been underway for several years now, and some moments of truth are approaching. The ultimate success of this monumental effort to improve the way we pay for and deliver care will be measured not only by cost savings, but also by how well payment reform results in better health outcomes and a value-based system that delivers genuinely person-centered care.

The Health Care Transformation Task Force-a unique private-sector, multi-stakeholder group whose 42 members represent six of the nation's top 15 health systems, four of the top 25 health insurers, and leading national organizations representing employers and patients and their families-has been at the forefront of helping to accelerate the pace of this transformation. As part of our efforts to transition our health care system toward value-based payment, we strongly support ensuring that new models of payment promote a person-centered care system that improves the care experience for patients and family caregivers. We believe that, to do this, patients and consumers must be engaged as partners at all levels of care and care design including the building of alternative payment models.
 
A Physician Writes: 5 Things Physicians Realize When They're Patients (Kevin MD)

There are so many insightful stories out there about what happens when physicians experience life as a patient or family member. They always make sobering reading for everyone in health care. Over the years I've heard dozens of these stories from fellow physicians, describing experiences when they've unfortunately been sick themselves. It's an inevitable fact of life for everyone that they will be the patient one day, but it's often an especially life-changing experience for anyone who already works at the frontlines of medicine. Based on these experiences, here are 5 pieces of universal feedback.
 
Palliative Care

10 Take Home Lessons From the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) Annual Seminar (Pallimed)
 
I was fortunate to attend the 2016 CAPC conference in Orlando. Below are some of the most notable pearls I will be taking home with me. 
 
Study Results Serve as "Call to Action" to Increase Investment in Palliative Care
 
Only one-fourth of U.S. hospitals complied with established quality standards for having a fully staffed palliative care team, according to study results published in Health Affairs.
 
"What we wanted to do with this study was underscore the gap between what this patient population needs based upon consensus quality guidelines and what is actually happening in hopes it will be a call to action for health system leaders to appropriately invest in staff training and capacity for these programs," Diane E. Meier, MD, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care and a HemOnc Today Editorial Board member, said during an interview.
 
Meier and colleagues pooled data from the National Palliative Care Registry on staffing of palliative care programs in hospitals during 2012 and 2013. Data indicated that nearly 18,000 additional palliative care physicians would be needed to meet the needs of existing palliative care programs in the United States.

Meier spoke with HemOnc Today about the findings and the impact she hopes they will have on palliative care programs across the country.
 
End-of-Life Care

Illness Sparks a Quest to Transform End-of-Life Care (HealthLeaders Media)
 
After a health system executive was diagnosed with cancer, her CEO tasked her with creating a system wide initiative to transform end-of-life care. 
 
Publications
High-Quality Online Certificate Courses in Spiritual Care in Palliative Care ─ for Spiritual Care Specialists (Chaplains) and Spiritual Care Generalists (Nurses, Social Workers, Physicians, Others)

NEW: Courses are now Available at a Significantly Reduced Price yet 
With the Same High Quality Curriculum, Instruction and Support That 
Course Takers Praise Highly
Delivering quality spiritual care to palliative care patients requires both the chaplain as the specialist and involvement by the other members of the interdisciplinary team as spiritual care generalists.
 
The hundreds of health care professionals (chaplains, nurses, social workers, physicians, and others) who have completed these courses say that as a result they have significantly enhanced their knowledge and skills to deliver spiritual care in palliative care settings.

Register Now for Next Courses Which Start January 11th.

Have questions? Email comm@healthcarechaplaincy.org  
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4TH ANNUAL
Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference
March 13-15, 2017 | Chicago, IL.
#GivingTuesday
is November 29, and HealthCare Chaplaincy
wants to give back!
 
On Tuesday, November 29, anyone who registers for our
annual Caring for the Human Spirit Conference
will automatically receive 10% off.
This discount will be available only on November 29 and will expire at midnight.
We look forward to seeing you at our conference!
Click here to learn more about the conference.
 
The HealthCare ChaplaincyNetwork™ is pleased to announce our 4th annual Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference. This one-of-a-kind, event will be held in Chicago on March 13-15, 2017 and will draw an international, multi-disciplinary audience on-site and via webinar.
 

Join Chaplains from Many Countries for the
Ceremony of Renewal of Commitment to Spiritual Care

Come Pray With Us!

Session: Sunday, March 12 / Seats Are Limited
Gundersen Lutheran Respecting Choices® First Steps Advance Care Planning Facilitator Training

Internationally recognized, evidence-based model that creates a culture of person-centered care

  • Learn the skills to facilitate foundation Advance Care Planning discussions with any adult
  • Allows any member of the interdisciplinary health care team to engage earlier in the patient care process
  • One-day onsite training
  • Instructor: Jim Kraft, Director of Advance Care Planning and Collaborative Services, Ford Health System
  • Cost is $375, includes online courses to be completed in advanced and on-site at the Caring for the Human Spirit® in Chicago
Conference Daily Activities

The three-day event will consist of one keynote address, four plenaries, and more than 30 workshops of which attendees will select five. The program includes breakfast and lunch, and ample opportunities for networking, visiting exhibit booths and reviewing scientific posters.

Full Conference Registration fee includes breakfast for three days, lunch for two days, and the President's Reception on Monday evening. Learn more

Conference Registration
*Early Bird* rate through February 18, 2017:
$380 (Chaplains); $480 (Non-Chaplains)

Rate after February 18, 2017:
$450 (Chaplains); $550 (Non-Chaplains)

One-Day Rate:
$200/day (Chaplains); $250/day (Non-Chaplains)
Group Discounts available, see our website for more details.

Virtual Conference/Webcast
$800 per site
The real-time broadcast will include keynote and plenary presentations and select workshops. HCCN will select one workshop per series to broadcast. The broadcast is available in English.
*Specialty Track workshops will not be broadcasted live.

The Webcast provide an excellent opportunity to engage entire staff or multiple members of an organization who might not otherwise be able to attend and facilitates the sharing and dissemination of knowledge while minimizing cost and travel time.

Hotel Room Rate
$199 + State and Local Taxes
Learn more about the venue here

Questions
Questions about the conference? Email us at events@healthcarechaplaincy.org
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While a professional chaplain is the spiritual care specialist on the interdisciplinary health care team, there is growing recognition that delivery of spiritual care requires the participation of nurses, social workers and other team members as spiritual care generalists. Nurses and social workers receive little or no professional education training in spiritual care yet they say they very much want it.

Therefore, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) and the Spiritual Care Association (SCA) have created these two opportunities to raise nurses' and social workers' spiritual care knowledge and delivery:
 
The first opportunity is four online courses through the Spiritual Care Association's Foley Learning Center:
Each course was written by a subject-matter expert, uses a state-of-the-art learning management system, is self-directed and can be taken at your own pace, and upon completion earns one a certificate of completion and continuing education hours.
 
Learn more about the spiritual care generalist courses for nurses, for social workers and the Foley Learning Center on our website. The fee for each course is $295 for SCA members and $495 for non-members. 
 
Learn about all the benefits of SCA's annual membership for health care professionals.
 
Earning the first-of-its kind Certificate as a Spiritual Care Generalist is the other learning opportunity for nurses and social workers who attend this preeminent, multidisciplinary professional education opportunity in spiritual care and meet the requirements:
Find details about the conference and this unique Certificate program here

For those of you who are not a nurse or social worker, I ask that you forward this to those whom you know to inform them of these learning opportunities that so many of them say they desire.

Please send any comments or questions to comm@healthcarechaplaincy.org.
Sincerely,
Rev. Eric J. Hall
President & CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and
Spiritual Care Association
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There is growing recognition that excellent patient experience encompasses the whole person, including spiritual care. For that reason HealthCare Chaplaincy Network has published the attached white paper ─ "SPIRITUAL CARE: What It Means, Why It Matters in Health Care" ─ a milestone publication for the field. No other document has presented with such clarity and with such comprehensive source documentation (93 footnotes) on these topics:
  • What is Spiritual Care
  • Spiritual Well-Being
  • Spiritual Care and Patient Satisfaction
  • Spiritual Care Generalists and Specialists
  • Role of Board Certified Chaplains
  • Bottom-Line Impact of Spiritual Care
In addition, this white paper describes how professional chaplaincy is evolving to become an evidence-based profession with objective standards for quality care and scope of practice similar to other health care disciplines. There is substantial support in the field for this forward movement.
 
I hope that you find this white paper useful, and I encourage you to share this with others who would find it informative ─ chaplains, administrators, nurses, social workers, physicians, educators, students, volunteers, policy makers and others who are interested in whole person care.  The white paper is also online at www.healthcarechaplaincy.org/spiritualcare.
 
I welcome your comments at eric.hall@healthcarechaplaincy.org.
 
Peace & Blessings!
  
Rev. Eric J. Hall
President & CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network & Spiritual Care Association
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   October 2016   Issue No. 14
 
Patient-Centered Care News
Every month we select ten articles from the many published recently. This month we present twice that, because there is so much good writing that reflects the growing commitment to patient-centered care. In addition, at the end of this message you will find announcements about valuable spiritual care resources, including free webinars this week and next and early bird registration for the "go-to" interdisciplinary event for spiritual care next March in Chicago ─ the fourth annual Caring for the Human Spirit® conference.
 
We hope that you find this complimentary monthly e-newsletter informative. Below are short summaries of each selected item with links to the entire pieces. Also included is a downloadable PDF version for readers who prefer that format.
 
Please feel free to send any questions or comments to comm@healthcarechaplaincy.org.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rev. Eric J. Hall
President & CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network & Spiritual Care Association
Thought for Today ----    An Imperative for the Chaplaincy Profession
 
"Chaplains (must) address questions regarding the basic concepts of outcome and evidence: Why are these concepts so important to healthcare? How can we demonstrate the value of the professional chaplain in a language that both physicians and administrators can understand and appreciate? Can the chaplain truly measure the care provided in such a way that it maintains the integrity of the care while measuring its impact on health and the bottom line?"

Source: Harold G. Koenig, M.D. & Kevin Adams, M.Div., BCC, "Religion and Health," Association of Professional Chaplains publication, Healing Spirit (Fall 2008)
Spirituality & Health Care

Spiritual Care "Is Silent Revolution That's Transformed Healthcare" (Religion & Ethics Newsweekly)
 
More and more hospitals are now putting added emphasis on the spiritual care of their patients, and it is paying off both figuratively and literally. Correspondent David Tereshchuk reports from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, where he interviews hospital chaplain Father Rick Bauer, who says that more than any other health professionals the chaplain "has the ability and the job to be totally present to you and listening to you." He also talks with Dr. Christina Puchalski, founder and director of George Washington University Medical School's Institute for Spirituality and Health about the improved outcomes that result from having chaplains available to patients and the benefits for medical institutions of having better patient satisfaction. Says Dr. Puchalski: "You can't practice excellent patient care if you don't practice excellent spiritual care."
Exploring Nurse Communication About Spirituality (American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine)
 
Conclusion: It is evident that patients want to discuss spiritual topics during care. Study findings illustrate the need to develop a spiritual communication curriculum and provide spiritual care communication training to clinicians. 
 
California Is The First State To Require Spiritual Care In Health Care (Huffington Post)
 
If you get sick in California, and you are covered by the state's Medi-Cal health insurance, you will be pleased to know that your health care just got better. California is the first state to recognize that spiritual care is a standalone discipline in health care and a trained and certified palliative care chaplain must be available for any patient who wants one. Spirituality, defined in the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care is a "fundamental aspect of compassionate, patient-and family-centered care that honors the dignity of all persons."

The California Department of Health Care Services policy now calls for a palliative care team to meet the physical, medical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual needs of you and your family; and recommends that the team include, but is not limited to a doctor of medicine or osteopathy, a registered nurse and/or nurse practitioner, a social worker, as well as a chaplain....

Hopefully this serves as a model that all states will soon follow for the good of patients and their families. 

Patient Experience

3 Ways to Improve Patient Experience With Empathy (The Beryl Institute)
 
Here are three strategies any healthcare organization can adopt to make a measurable difference in the quality of the patient experience.

* Affirm Emotions
* Hear the Story
* Be Creative

Read more
Health Care Administrators Who Claim "I Don't Do Direct Patient Care" (The Beryl Institute)
 
There appears to be a divide in healthcare into clinical and administrative silos. Two different approaches to healthcare, but both are supposed to have one clear objective: make patients and their families the number one priority. There has to be a way to tie the two functions together to see not only how each group not only takes part in creating the patient experience, but also how both roles need to be symbiotic in creating value for the patient. 
 
A Patient and Social Worker Writes: "Stop With the Unnecessary Questions" (KevinMD)
 
When I find a lump in my left breast, I am stunned. I probably shouldn't be surprised, but I'm immobilized. It takes me several days before I tell my partner, who has to push me into action. I get the referral from my doctor and schedule a mammogram. The radiology practice fits me into their schedule that same week, but I still have several days to sit with the unknown.

Finally, the day of the appointment comes. I wait in the reception area for an hour before the x-ray technician calls my name. As we walk to the exam room, me in my usual long leg braces and aluminum forearm crutches, she is chatty and asks, "How did you get here today?" 
 
Fragmentation of Care: Necessity? Opportunity for Quality? (PlainViews® from HealthCare Chaplaincy Network)
 
Recently, I responded to an email from a professional chaplain who told us the story of his own hospitalization that was characterized by multiple caregivers who didn't communicate well, unneeded treatments, lack of communication with him as the patient about side effects and no contact with chaplaincy. Not an unfamiliar story unfortunately.

A couple of people who saw my response encouraged me to disseminate it further. Here is my somewhat edited response. 
 
Articles by Physicians

Five Tips for Effective Quality Improvement in Palliative Care and #3 Will Blow You Away (Pallimed blog)
  • Tip #1: Define the problem - Have a problem statement.
  • Tip #2: Define the problem, again.
  • Tip #3: Problem first, solutions (much) later.
  • Tip #4: Have an aim statement.
  • Tip #5: Explore the "Why".
The "Surprise Question" May Help Stimulate Palliative Care Discussions
(AAHPM SmartBrief and MedicalResearch.com)
 
The "surprise question" -- "Would you be surprised if this patient died in the next year?" -- helped identify primary care patients at risk of death but missed most patients who could benefit from palliative care, said researcher Dr. Joshua Lakin at Harvard Medical School. The study in JAMA Internal Medicine tested the screening method in a diverse, primary care population. 
 
The Special Nature of Palliative Care - for Both Patients and Caregivers (genesishealth.com)
 
Palliative Care offers family meetings and helps to ease the discussion between the patient and family members about overall goals and what types of care are best for an individual. We all have a different view of quality of life. What is important to one patient may not be important to another.

Our goal is to listen to patients and develop an understanding of what quality of life means to them, and then convey this to family members and other members of the medical team.  
 
Patients Want to Make Their Own Informed Choices. We Need to Let Them. (KevinMD)
 
Patient-centered care is often talked about as a virtue worthwhile to attain because it puts them at the heart of their health care team.  Empowerment goes one step further by actually giving power and authority to the patient.  It is a very important concept that is often missed in the world of big-box medicine today.  There is actually an organization devoted to this concept called the European Network on Patient Empowerment (ENOPE).  According to them, an empowered, activated patient:
  • understands their health condition and its effect on their body
  • feels able to participate in decision-making with their health care professionals
  • feels able to make informed choices about treatment
  • understands the need to make necessary changes to their lifestyle for managing their condition
  • is able to challenge and ask questions of the health care professionals providing their care
  • takes responsibility for their health and actively seeks care only when necessary
  • actively seeks out, evaluates and makes use of information
The Lost Art of Asking Questions (Kevin MD)
 
Most people know from experience or through intuition that there is a right time and a right way to ask important or sensitive questions. You don't usually just blurt out requests for raises or marriage proposals, for example.

In many areas of life, knowing when and how to ask difficult questions is viewed as an extremely valuable skill, for example in criminal investigations and in journalism.

In some cases, this kind of skill can even make you a media star: Interviewers like Barbara Sawyer, Oprah Winfrey, and Howard Stern are more famous and better paid than most of the celebrities they engage in intimate conversations in front of their national or worldwide audiences.

This year, the U.S. presidential debates have been said to require unusual savvy from their moderators and their performance may even affect the outcome of the election.

Why is it, then, that in health care, so little value is placed on when and how you ask sensitive or important questions?
Palliative Care

Most Hospital Palliative Care Programs Are Understaffed (eHospice USA and Kaiser Health News)

In 2013, two-thirds of hospitals with at least 50 beds reported having a palliative care program. At hospitals with 300 beds or more, the figure was 90 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine earlier this year.

But not all programs provide the same level of service. In the September issue of Health Affairs, an analysis of 410 palliative care programs found that only 25 percent funded teams in 2013 that included a physician, an advanced practice or registered nurse, a social worker and a chaplain, the four positions that are recommended by the Joint Commission, which sets hospital standards, including those for accreditation. If "unfunded" staffers were counted, those who were on loan from other units, for example, the figure rose to 39 percent. 
 
'Mystery Shopper' Study Finds Barriers To Palliative Care At Major Cancer Centers (Science 2.0 and American Society for Clinical Oncology)
 
A team of researchers, using a novel approach, found that while many cancer centers offer palliative and supportive care services, patients may face challenges when trying to access them. The study showed that expanding awareness and education to patient-facing cancer center employees about such services could make an important difference. This study will be presented at the upcoming 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in San Francisco.

Read More

Related to the "Mystery Shopper" story: What  Is Your Front Desk Saying About Palliative Care? (Geripal)
 
End-of-Life Care

What It Feels Like to Die (The Atlantic)
 
Science is just beginning to understand the experience of life's end. ... During six-and-a-half years of treatment, although my mother saw two general practitioners, six oncologists, a cardiologist, several radiation technicians, nurses at two chemotherapy facilities, and surgeons at three different clinics-not once, to my knowledge, had anyone talked to her about what would happen as she died.

There's good reason. "Roughly from the last two weeks until the last breath, somewhere in that interval, people become too sick, or too drowsy, or too unconscious, to tell us what they're experiencing," says Margaret Campbell, a professor of nursing at Wayne State University who has worked in palliative care for decades. The way death is talked about tends to be based on what family, friends, and medical professionals see, rather than accounts of what dying actually feels like.

James Hallenbeck, a palliative-care specialist at Stanford University, often compares dying to black holes. "We can see the effect of black holes, but it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to look inside them. They exert an increasingly strong gravitational pull the closer one gets to them. As one passes the 'event horizon,' apparently the laws of physics begin to change."

What does dying feel like? Despite a growing body of research about death, the actual, physical experience of dying-the last few days or moments-remains shrouded in mystery. Medicine is just beginning to peek beyond the horizon. 
 
At the End of Life, Searching for the Right Word (KevinMD)
 
Writes the daughter about her mother in hospice care:
 
I clicked on an article titled, "What Happens to My Body Right After I Die." In the third paragraph I read, "At the moment of death, all the muscles in the body relax ..."

I read the line again. "At the moment of death, all the muscles in the body relax."

My eyes lingered on the word "relax." As I stared at it, I took a deep breath and felt the knot in my stomach ease.

Maybe "fighting" is the word that an endless line of others needed or will need as they watch their loved ones slowly exit life, but it wasn't the word I needed.

I needed the word "relax." That word felt comforting, compassionate, acceptable.

On day eight, I didn't ask the nurses, "How much longer?" I didn't need meaningless words to fill the space between the question and the inevitable, unknowable answer.

Instead, I whispered in Mom's ear, "I love you." And then, I sat patiently by her bed and waited for her to relax.

And finally, on day nine, as I held her hand, she did.
Calming Effect: Families Turn to Hospice Workers to Help Ease Final Goodbye (Chicago Tribune)
 
Hospice nurses, who are sometimes referred to as palliative care nurses, are registered nurses who care for patients who are no longer responding to medical care. "On its surface it sounds morbid, but it's really a peaceful process," says Barbara Metzger, a University of Illinois Chicago graduate who has been practicing hospice care for 12 years. "You're working with the patient to make sure he or she is comfortable and safe, and you're preparing the family for the inevitable." 
 
Caregivers Are Suffering

Family Caregivers of Patients With Advanced Cancer Report High Anxiety, Depression (Oncology Nurse Advisor)

Nearly 25% to 33% of family caregivers of patients with advanced cancers report high levels of anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as significant time providing care, a study that will be presented at the 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in San Francisco, California, has shown. 
 
Unusual News

Geisinger Refunds Patients $400,000 for 'Uncompassionate Care' (Becker's Hospital CFO)
 
As of August, Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., returned more than $400,000 to dissatisfied patients since the health system launched its ProvenExperience initiative in November 2015, reports The Daily Item.
 
Under the ProvenExperience initiative - spearheaded by President and CEO David Feinberg, MD, and piloted last October - patients can request refunds if they are dissatisfied with their hospital experience. Refunds work on a sliding scale, meaning patients can seek refunds as little as $1 to more than $2,000. 
 
Free: Two Webinars This Week and Next
 
Wednesday, October 19th: Free Live Q&A Forums About the New Spiritual Care Association hosted by prominent health care chaplains the Rev. Sue Wintz, BCC and the Rev. George Handzo, BCC
 
 
October 25th: FREE "Advocacy for Spiritual Care in a Changing Political Environment" presented by Washington, DC expert M. Todd Tuten ─ Senior Policy Advisor, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP 
 
"Reforming Chaplaincy Training" Webinar
 
October 27th: Presented by the Rev. David Fleenor, BCC, ACPE Supervisor, Director of Clinical Pastoral Education, Mount Sinai Health System
 
Early Bird Registration Now Open for the "Go-To" Interdisciplinary Conference on Spiritual Care
Subscribe to the Preeminent Monthly Professional Journal for
Effective Chaplaincy Practice
Learn More & To Subscribe Here
 
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ (HCCN), founded in 1961, is a global health care nonprofit organization that offers spiritual care-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Its mission is to advance the integration of spiritual care in health care through clinical practice, research and education in order to improve patient experience and satisfaction and to help people faced with illness and grief find comfort and meaning--whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are. For more information, visit www.healthcarechaplaincy.org,  call 212-644-1111, follow us on Twitter or connect with us on Facebook
The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) is the first multidisciplinary, international professional membership association for spiritual care providers that establishes evidence-based quality indicators, scope of practice, and a knowledge base for spiritual care in health care. As health care providers emphasize the delivery of positive patient experience,  SCA is leading the way to educate, certify, credential and advocate so that more people in need, regardless of religion, beliefs or cultural identification, receive effective spiritual care in all types of institutional and community settings in the U.S. and internationally.  SCA is committed to serving its multidisciplinary membership and growing the chaplaincy profession. For more information, visit www.SpiritualCareAssociation.org, call 212-644-1111, follow on Twitter or connect on Facebook and LinkedIn. The nonprofit SCA is an affiliate of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ with offices in New York and Los Angeles.
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FREE ─ "Advocacy for Spiritual Care in a Changing Political Environment" ─ October 25, 2016 Webinar (1:30-3 PM ET)
 
Hear M. Todd Tuten, senior policy advisor, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Washington, DC, and an expert on health care policy, legislation and regulation, discuss:
  • The important role of spiritual care advocates in shaping public policies related to health care
  • The outlook for legislative and regulatory action and the potential agendas of the new Administration and the next Congress
The Spiritual Care Association is pleased to make this webinar available at no charge as a benefit for all who provide spiritual care and for all who seek to make spiritual care a priority.
 
If you have any questions, please contact events@healthcarechaplaincy.org
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HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™, a global leader in professional spiritual care, now offers this package of resources to enhance, improve and expand the level of spiritual care in your organization.  These high-quality, robust resources were created to support your chaplaincy staff and spiritual care initiatives.
 
The special offer includes:
  • Telechaplaincy Services
  • Excellence in Spiritual Care Award
  • Educational Videos
  • Spiritual Care Grand Rounds Webinars
  • The Chaplain Connection®
  • PlainViews®
  • Volunteer Training Manual
  • Meditative Spiritual Techniques
  • Handbook of Patient's Spiritual and Cultural Values for Health Care Professionals
  • An Invitation to Chaplaincy Research Handbook
  • Caring for the Human Spirit® Magazine
  • Prayer Cards
The $5,000 rate is for one-year and renewable annually.

For details please download the information sheets.  

You can also learn more by contacting: 

The Rev. Amy Strano
Director, Programs and Services
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™
astrano@healthcarechaplaincy.org
T 212-644-1111 x219

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To celebrate the Spiritual Care Association's rapid growth in six months to more than 1,000 members and offices in nine countries, we are pleased to announce these two special offers:

1. Half-price membership in the Spiritual Care Association for the three membership categories for the first year of membership. This limited-time offer is available through October 31 and exclusively for people who are not already members. Join the more than 1,000 people who have already taken advantage of the considerable benefits of membership. To view the annual benefits, the normal annual membership fee, and to join, click here and insert discount code OCTOBER during payment for the membership category for which you qualify.

2. Half-price application fee for Path 1 or 2 Board certification in the Spiritual Care Association. This limited-time offer requires that you submit your application no later than October 31 and requires becoming a SCA member. This offer is available both for SCA new members and current members. Download the application form in the Certification section of the SCA website. Applications must be postmarked no later than October 31.

For certification requirements, click here. Members can access the application by logging in and clicking "Apply Now" on the Board Certification page of the SCA website.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at info@spiritualcareassociation.org.
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Thought for Today ----    An Imperative for the Chaplaincy Profession
 
Concerns raised by thought leaders for decades about gaps in the field of spiritual care are taking on increased urgency. Without evidence-based tools as a framework for care ----    specifically, measurable quality indicators and set of competencies, the field is hard pressed to validate the contribution spiritual care makes to quality health care. Without consistent training and certification based on demonstration of clinical competencies, it is difficult to identify chaplains who can provide the most effective care.
 
New Fall/Winter Catalogue of Spiritual Care Educational Offerings
 
In line with the above thought, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) and the Spiritual Care Association (SCA), HCCN's affiliate multidisciplinary professional membership organization, offer high quality educational offerings to enhance professional practice and to advance the field of spiritual care. You may be aware of some of these resources but perhaps not the full array:
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The Spiritual Care Association Learning Center's Seven Benefits:
  1. Features 16 online courses created by experts
  2. The most comprehensive, evidence-based curriculum in the spiritual care field
  3. Each course created to lead to quality outcomes because each is based on standardized, evidence-based quality indicators and scope of practice developed by expert panels 
  4. Convenient ─ Easily accessible plus learn online at your own pace
  5. Cost-effective: Individual online course price for Spiritual Care Association members is $295 and $495 for non-members.
  6. Earn certificate and continuing education hours upon completion
  7. Is for spiritual care specialists and generalists: Chaplains, NursesSocial Workers, Physicians, Administrators, other health care professionals, Religious/Spiritual/Existential Leaders, Clergy, and Seminarians
16 Courses Now Online + More to Come
  1. Building and Maintaining a Chaplaincy Department
  2. What to Do with Information: HIPAA and Confidentiality
  3. Talking about What Matters: Advance Directives and Planning
  4. What We Do Matters: Continuous Quality Improvement within Chaplaincy and Health Care
  5. What We Hear and Say: Spiritual Assessment and Documentation
  6. More than Listening: Counseling Skills
  7. When Care is Tough: Supporting the Interdisciplinary Team
  8. Values, Obligations and Rights: Health Care Ethics
  9. Powerful Communication Techniques
  10. Living with Heartbreak: Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
  11. Far Too Soon: The Anguish of Perinatal Loss
  12. Cultural Competence, Inclusion, and Vulnerable Populations
  13. Caring for the Smallest: Pediatrics
  14. The Challenge of Memory: Alzheimer's and Other Dementias
  15. Delivery and Continuity of Care for Chaplaincy Care
  16. When It's Time to Say Goodbye: Introduction to Spiritual Care at the End of Life
 
 
 
Typical Praise for Online Learning Center
 
A pediatrics chaplain at a major academic medical center who completed the pediatric course has said:
 
"I love all the resources (especially the charts that made some of the child development stuff more accessible in a quick fashion), and I passed along a few articles to our bereavement coordinator. I also appreciate the quick response to my questions and concerns."
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   September 2016     Issue No. 13
 
Patient-Centered Care News
The other day I read this description of Patient-Centered Care which I wish to share as I think it sums it up well: "In patient-centered care, the patient is the source of control for their care. The care is customized, encourages patient participation and empowerment, and reflects the patient's needs, values and choices. Transparency between providers and patients, as well as between providers, is required. Families and friends are considered an essential part of the care team."
 
We hope that you find this complimentary monthly e-newsletter informative. Below are short summaries of each selected item with links to the entire pieces. Also included is a downloadable PDF version for readers who prefer that format.
 
Please feel free to send any questions or comments to comm@healthcarechaplaincy.org.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rev. Eric J. Hall
President & CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network & Spiritual Care Association
 
Thought for Today ----   An Imperative for the Chaplaincy Profession
 
One of the best practices that chaplaincy has long resisted is establishing standard practice. Chaplains are used to operating on intuition or "just being." Part of the resistance is that many chaplains have a misunderstanding of what standard practice is and is not. What it is not is giving up the art of chaplaincy or using the training that teaches us to respond to the other as an individual. Standard practice means that everyone knows how something is done and does not have to guess. It also means that everyone outside the chaplaincy department knows what to expect when they interact with a chaplain. Standardized practice can also mean that the chance of a process going wrong will be reduced or eliminated. It is time to move forward.
Spirituality and Health Care

Spiritual Advice for Surviving Cancer and Other Disasters (Washington Post)
 
An oncologist briskly walks into the consultation room, greets me and my wife, double-checks his chart and pulls up a computer image.

"It's cancer," he says.

As the shock starts to wear off, I cry. My oncologist tries to engage me in small talk. "What is it you do for a living?" he asks. I inform him that I'm a college professor and that I do disaster research.

After a slight pause, he replies, "Looks like you're in for your own personal disaster."
Experiences and Expressions of Spirituality at the End of Life in the Intensive Care Unit (ATS Journals)
 
Background: The austere setting of the intensive care unit (ICU) can suppress expressions of spirituality. Objective: To describe how family members and clinicians experience and express spirituality during the dying process. Setting: 21 bed medical-surgical ICU Methods: Reflecting the care of 70 dying patients, we conducted 208 semi-structured qualitative interviews with 76 family members and 150 clinicians participating in the 3 Wishes Project. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed by 3 investigators using qualitative interpretive description.
Patient Experience
 
A Nurse Writes ----     4 Ways Nurses Can Indirectly Influence Patient Experience (HealthLeaders Media) 
  1. Acknowledge Patients' Suffering
  2. Create 'Radical Convenience'
  3. Apply the '90/5' Rule
  4. Appreciate Your Staff
A Physician Writes ─ 5 Ways to Improve  Physician-Patient Relationships (H&HN-Hospital & Health Networks)

Improved efficiency and effective patient engagement are often treated as if they are mutually exclusive. But through my experience as a physician and instructor, I have seen the power that several simple but fundamentally important skills can have on the physician-patient relationship. Rather than being an inevitable casualty of the changing health care environment, patient engagement is the road to improved efficiency, quality, safety and financial stability. Equipping everyone with the skills needed for success will improve culture, quality, patient experience, and provider and staff satisfaction as well as reduce physician burnout.

Your health care team members need five skills to restore relationships in their own practices:
  1. Presence and mindfulness.
  2. Reflective listening.
  3. Information gathering and agenda setting.
  4. Recognizing and responding to emotion.
  5. Gratitude and appreciation.
Taking the time to listen leads to better outcomes.

Palliative Care

Palliative Care Targets Quality of Life (Kiplinger)
 
This is an excellent overview article to give to those unfamiliar with palliative care facts and benefits. Includes perspective from cancer patient Amy Berman of The Hartford Foundation ("Palliative care is the best friend of the seriously ill."), Dr. Diane Meier, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care ("Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided along with curative treatment."), and Judith Skretny, director of palliative care for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization ("Palliative care can be given to people anywhere.")
 
New Edition of Pediatric e-Journal Focuses on Communication (National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization & e-Hospice USA e-newsletter)

Communications with children and families is the theme of the new edition of the pediatric e-journal produced by NHPCO's Children's Project on Hospice/Palliative Services. This PDF resource is available free of charge online.

These articles included in this edition of the e-journal offer suggestions for and examples of engaging in this important aspect of providing pediatric palliative/hospice care.

Early Palliative Care Recommended for Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Patients (AAHPM SmartBrief and tcdmd)
 
Patients with advanced cardiovascular disease and stroke should receive early palliative care, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association said in a policy statement in the journal Circulation. The report included 28 recommendations to facilitate use of palliative care, covering reimbursement for services, the identification of patients who need palliative care, the creation of quality measures, the development of standards for hospital palliative care and education and certification for practitioners.
Systematic Palliative Care Provides Greater Improvement in Quality of Life for Patients with Pancreatic Cancer (Oncology Nurse Advisor)

Quality of life is significantly improved for patients with pancreatic cancer when systematic palliative care is administered vs on-demand palliative care, a study published in the European Journal of Cancer has shown.

Early palliative care (EPC) is proven to have a positive impact on clinical outcomes for oncology patients; therefore, researchers sought to determine optimal timing for EPC activation in a prospective, multicenter randomized study. 

Read more
End-of-Life Care
 
A Physician Writes ----   Mission Creep Doesn't Benefit Patients at the End of Life (Washington Post)

When my father was 88 and the picture of health for his age, he taught me, an experienced physician, an unexpected lesson.

We were discussing treatment options promoted by his primary-care physician and other doctors for an aortic aneurysm - a ballooned segment of blood vessel at risk for dangerous rupture in his abdomen. He turned to me and asked, "Why would I want to fix something that is going to carry me away the way I want to go?"

My father had the generally accurate impression that if his aneurysm ruptured, he could demand pain medicine, decline emergency surgery and be dead from internal bleeding within a few hours or, at most, a day or two.

With his unexpected question, he directly challenged the assumption that a doctor's advice is always in a patient's best interest, particularly regarding a medical problem late in life. This proposition had been my general belief, but after more than two decades as an internist and gastroenterologist, he had prompted me to reconsider it.

Furthermore, Dad was making an important distinction, between care at the end of life (in this case, palliative care for pain) and treatment (aneurysm repair). He was also suggesting a natural exit strategy. Not suicide, to which he had a moral objection, and not physician-assisted suicide, which was not a legal option in his home state of Wisconsin.

Despite his generally decent health, we both thought that he was too old for a major surgical repair, so I suggested he undergo an outpatient procedure to insert a stent to prevent the ballooning artery from worsening - that would at least postpone the threat of rupture. My reasoning was that with the stent, he was likely to enjoy the birth of his first great-grandchild and that without it, he would probably never know her.

My father lived five more years and met 12 great-grandchildren. Three of those years were good ones, but two of them were not.

I have asked myself, "Was it worth it?" I know that he asked himself that, too. His mantra for the last two years of his life was "I have lived too long."

Four Things Dying People Agree are as bad as or Worse Than Death 
(AAHPM SmartBrief and Quartz) 

Among seriously ill patients asked to consider dying or living with limitations, 69% said being incontinent would be as bad or worse than death, while 67% cited needing a breathing machine, 56% listed having a feeding tube and 54% said it was requiring constant care. Researchers noted in JAMA Internal Medicine that none of the patients had those limitations and it was possible they overestimated how difficult it would be to live with them.

Read more
"More At Peace": Interpreters Key to Easing Patients Final Days (National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, e-Hospice USA e-newsletter and Kaiser Health News)
 
Interpreters routinely help people who speak limited English ----     close to 9 percent of the U.S. population, and growing ----     understand what's happening in the hospital. They become even more indispensable during patients' dying days. But specialists say interpreters need extra training to capture the nuances of language around death.

Many doctors and nurses need the assistance of interpreters not only to overcome language barriers but also to navigate cultural differences. Opportunities for miscommunication with patients abound. Words don't always mean the same thing in every language.

Medical staff, already nervous about delivering bad news, may speak too quickly, saying too much or too little. They may not realize patients aren't comprehending that the team can no longer save their lives.

"That's when it gets interesting," Maldonado said. "Does the doctor understand that the patient isn't understanding?"
 
Read more
Important Webinars Coming Up In September-October

September 15th and October 19th: Free Live Q&A Forums About the New Spiritual Care Association hosted by prominent health care chaplains the Rev. Sue Wintz, BCC and the Rev. George Handzo, BCC
 
Register for October 19th Forum

October 25th: "Advocacy for Spiritual Care in a Changing Political Environment" presented by Washington, DC expert M. Todd Tuten ─ Senior Policy Advisor, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP 
 

October 27th: "Reforming Chaplaincy Training" presented by The Rev. David Fleenor, BCC, ACPE Supervisor, Director of Clinical Pastoral Education, Mount Sinai Health System 
 
Board Certified Chaplains: September 15th Is Deadline to Purchase at Reduced Price the New Standardized Clinical Knowledge Test

Three New Online Professional Education Courses Now Available at the Spiritual Care Association Learning Center
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