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July 2017 Issue No. 23


Open Letter to Health Care Executives on the Spiritual Care Association
As the Spiritual Care Association finishes the first quarter of its second year, the same principles apply: to advance professional chaplaincy and the spiritual care field. A letter was sent to Health Care Executives providing more information about its education and certification models.

Palliative Care

A growing need for Palliative Care in the United States

Nearly 90 percent of large US hospitals with 300 beds or more offer palliative care services, yet there is only one palliative care physician per 1,200 people with serious illness in the United States. Cambia Health Foundation aims to change this. (Health Affairs)

Spiritual Care
Chaplain's role in hospitals

Johns Hopkins Medicine investigators conducted a study to understand how parents of hospitalized children view the role of chaplains. (Journal of Palliative Medicine)

Patient Experience

Spiritual Care Board to assist patients in ICU

The aftermath of an operation can be frustrating, scary and leaving you feeling vulnerable and/or isolated. A chaplain and a monk created the first spiritual care board to offer support to those who need it. (CNN)
First UK university teaching hospice

In an agreement with the University of Leeds, St. Gemma's Hospice has begun teaching hospice, making it the first formally-recognized university in the United Kingdom to do so. [ITV]
Read more


Finding hope and spirituality in sports

Though the final score is important to many, some look at sports as a way to build character, while raising your spirituality level. (Desert News Faith)

Health Report

Lose the pills; take a prescription in well-being
A study by Newcastle University in the United Kingdom examines the positive effects of prescribing non-medical activities to cope with long term health conditions. (Science Daily)
Spiritual practices to reduce our stress levels

We have a lot on our minds. One way to metaphorically - and literally - inhale and exhale is to use a variety of spiritual practices to keep yourself balanced. (The New Indian Express)

End-of-Life Care
Veterans look to hospices as an alternative

Since the U.S. Veterans Administration implemented its Comprehensive End of Life Care Initiative in 2009, the amount of terminally ill male war veterans to enroll in hospice care has surpassed elderly men who did not serve. (Reuters)

Read more
Good Reads
The subtle symptoms of death

"Terminal lucidity", a term coined by biologist Michael Nahm in 2009, describes the moment of energy and clarity that sometimes precedes death. (NY Times)
Read more

Finding happiness in being miserable

It is not possible to be constantly happy. One therapist explains how feeling discontented aids in our level of happiness.

Read more


HealthCare Chaplaincy Network has been supporting chaplaincy departments for over 50 years? We are currently providing services to dozens of institutions in the United States that range from on-site chaplaincy services to more innovative programs that bring comfort and meaning to patients.
To learn how your institution can benefit,
June 2017  Issue No. 22


HealthCare Chaplaincy's clinical partnership with University Hospital
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) has begun a clinical partnership with University Hospital in Newark, NJ (UHNJ). As a partner institution, UHNJ will benefit from HCCN's clinical expertise in integrating spiritual care as a unique contributor to evidence-based best practices within patient-centered healthcare. In addition to staffing their chaplaincy services department, HCCN will provide a wide range of value-added services.


Patient Choice & Quality Care Act introduced in Congress

Patient Choice & Quality Care Act gives patients and families living with advanced and life-limiting illnesses access to the information and services they need. An Advanced Illness Coordination Services demonstration will be conducted that will allow an interdisciplinary team to provide early palliative care and wrap-around, home-based services to individuals with multiple and complex chronic conditions. (Hospice Action Network)

Spiritual Care
Spiritual Care's value in providing for the elderly

In a joint position statement, Palliative Care Australia and Meaningful Ageing Australia explained the importance of spiritual care as part of palliative care in caring for the ageing. (Palliative Care Australia and Meaningful Ageing Australia)

Emergency Room testimonies: Chaplains and Spiritual Care
Podcast: A look at the impact of spiritual care from the words of chaplains who are in emergency rooms. (Interfaith Radio)

Palliative Care

Perinatal Palliative Care on the rise in the United States

Since 1997, San Diego Hospice and Institute for Palliative Medicine (SDHIPM) has been providing perinatal palliative care, a specialized medical and emotional support for families who learn as a result of prenatal testing that their babies may die before or shortly after birth. There are now 212 programs in the United States, showing a need for this support. (Annals of Palliative Medicine)
Improving the quality of care in nursing homes
Unlike hospice care, palliative care can be delivered simultaneously with life-prolonging disease treatment. With the new quality measures introduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid in 2016, nursing homes are working to adapt by integrating palliative care into their structure. (McKnight's)


Overcoming hardships with spirituality

Podcast: A healthy sense of spirituality is key to our ability to bounce back from adversity. Listen to more in this seven-minute excerpt of Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice, by Brené Brown. (Courage Works)

Health Report

Raising well-being for universities students 

A recent survey found that life satisfaction levels in universities students in the UK are lower than the rest of the general population. That, along with other factors, have led experts to call the situation a "mental health crisis." Some universities offer programs and initiatives, such as pet therapy sessions, to increase the well-being of the population. (Independent)

End-of-Life Care
Dying Openly and Without Fear

Since Canada legalized "medical assistance in dying" in June 2016, more people have chosen to die by lethal injection. John Shields, who suffers from amyloidosis - an incurable disease - took the opportunity to host his own wake prior to his chosen day of death. (New York Times)
Read more
Social care for the ageing prison population

The number of prisoners over the age of 60 in England and Wales have tripled in the past 15 years; however, social care has not. Initiating a national strategy to improve this area would be needed in order for terminally-ill prisoners to die in a humane fashion. (Care Appointments)

Read more


May 2017  Issue No. 21


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 
April 2017  Issue No. 20


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 
March 2017  Issue No. 19

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.