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July 2018  Issue No. 32

HCCN & SCA Advance Research on the Integration of Spiritual Care Within Health Care with Three Evidence-Based White Papers
"Spiritual Care and Social Work: Integration into Practice"
"Spiritual Care and Physicians: Understanding Spirituality in Medical Practice"
"Spiritual Care and Nursing: A Nurse's Contribution and Practice"

Palliative Care
This Type of Care Can Sharply Reduce Medical Costs, So Why Aren't More Doctors Ordering It?
Doctors can improve the quality of life for their seriously ill patients while also reducing the patients' medical expenses if they make use of one particular care model, so why aren't they using it? (The Sacramento Bee)


Area's Labyrinths are Spiritual Paths 
At St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, the recently completed labyrinth, located near the church's front entry and open to the public, is a conduit to personal reflection and perhaps spiritual insight for anyone who walks the single-path journey to the center and back. (The Toledo Blade)

Health Report

The Rise of the Body Neutrality Movement
Instead of emphasizing the need to love how you look, concepts such as body neutrality, fat acceptance and body respect are allowing women to make peace with their bodies. (The Guardian)

Good Reads

Rabbi Discusses Why Silicon Valley Companies Should Hire Chaplains

Technology companies host gyms, massage therapists, keynote speakers, and meditation spaces to contribute to the well-being of their employees. Why not chaplains too? (Dallas News)

Submissions for workshop proposals for HealthCare Chaplaincy Network's 6th Annual Caring for the Human Spirit Conference in Myrtle Beach, May 20-22, 2019 are open. We invite researchers, chaplains, nurses, social workers, physicians, patient experience officers, and others to apply and present on best practices, latest research, or other topics to a diverse audience of healthcare professionals. Proposals related to community palliative care or pediatric palliative care will be especially welcome. More information about the conference can be found online.
Important dates to remember:
August 17, 2018- Deadline for workshop proposals 
Week of August 27, 2018 - Notification of workshop acceptance 
June 2018  Issue No. 31

HCCN & SCA Release Evidence-Based White Paper for Collaboration Between Social Workers and Chaplains
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) and its affiliate, the Spiritual Care Association (SCA) have released their newest white paper on the integration of spiritual care for the role of a social worker in the medical field entitled "Spiritual Care and Social Work:  Integration into Practice."

Palliative Care
Providence St. Joseph Rolls Out New End-of-Life Initiatives
The Renton, Wash.-based health system is offering a new advanced directive online toolkit-available in multiple languages and tailored for each of the seven states where the health system operates-that helps patients choose what type of end-of-life care they want, accessible through Providence St. Joseph's electronic health record. (Modern Healthcare)


Younger Adults Are Less Religious, and Not Only in the US 
A new study by the Pew Research Center looks at religious feelings among older and younger adults. (Religion News Service)

Health Report

Exercise vs. Standing? You Probably Need to Do Both
Moderate exercise does different things to the body than incidental activities like standing up. (The New York Times)

Good Reads

One Thing You'll Find in the Obits of Many Long-Living People

A new report finds that people with a religious affiliation live up to 4 years longer than those with no ties to religion. (Science Daily)

School Chaplains Legal Challenge Argues Program is Discriminatory

Tribunal asked to rule that applicants for chaplain positions not be ruled out based on religion. (The Guardian)

The Excellence in Spiritual Care Award from HealthCare Chaplaincy Network is a prestigious recognition of excellence in spiritual care in your organization.
Assess - begin with HCCN's self-assessment tool to help determine your organization's strengths and weaknesses 
Assist - work with HCCN's experts on strategies for improving the provision of spiritual care 
Award - if achieved, increases the visibility of your spiritual care department, celebrates the service of chaplains and signifies that your
organization is committed to addressing your patients' spiritual and religious needs through the best practices in spiritual care 

~ Assists in more fully integrating chaplaincy services into your overall health care delivery 

~ Helps insure your compliance with the Joint Commission's standards as they relate to spiritual care 

~ Identifies areas in your spiritual care program in need of improvement 

Provides consultation to achieve goals 

~ Increases the visibility of your spiritual care program within your organization and community 

~ Validates that your organization is committed to identifying and optimally addressing your patients' spiritual and religious needs by a leader in spiritual care

To learn more, contact:
Rev. Brian Hughes
(212) 644-1111 ext. 261
May 2018  Issue No. 30

Advanced Practice Board Certified Chaplain (APBCC) Certification Recognizes Additional Knowledge and Skill Chaplains Have Demonstrated
HCCN/SCA has announced a new distinction from the Spiritual Care Association: Advanced Practice Board Certified Chaplain (APBCC). These chaplains have been trained and tested in standardized curriculum based on the latest evidence in areas including department management, HIPAA regulations, the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of spiritual distress, cultural competency, advance care directives, patient clinical care, staff support, grief, and bereavement among other essential topics.

Go to the SCA Certification website for more information on credentialing and certification as a chaplain.

Palliative Care
Dedicated End-of-Life Education Program Improves Nurses' Care,
Patient and Family Satisfaction
A dedicated nurse education program to enhance care of patients with cancer and their families at the end of life can improve nurse confidence in their management of end-of-life care, a presentation at the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Annual Congress has shown. (Oncology Nurse Advisor)


The 'Gifts' of Pentecost and Shavuot 
This weekend marks the observance of Pentecost and Shavuot, holy days to Christians and Jews respectively. And both involve certain "gifts" that don't come with wrapping and bows. (Religion News Service)

Health Report

FDA Approves First Drug Designed to Prevent Migraines
Many experts believe the new drug will usher in a new era in treatment for people who suffer the most severe form of these headaches. (The New York Times)

Good Reads

In Defense of Sympathy, In Consideration of Empathy and In Praise of Compassion: A History of the Present

Are sympathy, empathy and compassion words that everyone uses but no one understands? (Ana Soto-Rubio, MSc and Shane Sinclair, Phd: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Vol. 55, No. 5, May 2018)

Rev. Patrick Conroy Sworn Back in as House Chaplain

The Rev. Patrick Conroy was sworn back in May 2, 2018, as the chaplain of the House of Representatives, less than a week after he decided to rescind his resignation. (NBC News)

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network offers a large selection of Professional Continuing Education (PCE) and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) programming and resources for its chaplain constituency and the broad spectrum of spiritual care and healthcare providers. 
April 2018  Issue No. 29

HCCN/SCA Announces New Certification
HCCN/SCA has announced a new distinction from the Spiritual Care Association: Advanced Practice Board Certified Chaplain (APBCC). Our certification process and the inclusion of our evidence-based educational training, our patient exam, and knowledge-based test have prepared a mass of chaplains who exhibit significant additional knowledge and skill. This new designation of APBCC now denotes the accomplishment and the distinction these chaplains have demonstrated.
Go to the SCA Certification website for more information on credentialing and certification as a chaplain.
SCA President Promotes Increased Awareness of Importance
of Spiritual Care
Spiritual Care Association (SCA) President and CEO Rev. Eric J. Hall visited Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, to advocate increased awareness of the importance of spiritual care and to promote legislative and regulatory initiatives to expand access to quality spiritual care. 

Palliative Care

Global Advocacy White Paper Emerges from Vatican Conference

The Academia Pro Vita (APV, trans. Academy for Life) at the Vatican held a conference in Rome at the end of February to showcase the work of the PAL-LIFE Project, comprising a group of global experts convened by the APV to develop palliative care strategies for health systems in countries of all income levels and faiths. The first product of this multi-year effort is a draft 'White Paper for Global Palliative Care Advocacy' addressed to stakeholders from a broad spectrum of global and multilateral institutions and professions. (IAHPC)

The webcast provides an excellent opportunity to engage your entire staff or multiple members of an organization who might not otherwise be able to attend or conference in-person. Registering for webcast facilitates the sharing and dissemination of knowledge while minimizing cost and travel time.


The Health Benefits of Religion 

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that faith and spiritually can enhance your health, and perhaps even extend your life. (Daily Herald)

Health Report

Getting Up Early May Be Better For Your Health

Morning people may live longer than night owls, a new study suggests. (The New York Times)

Good Reads

Offline: "A Sea of Suffering"

Suffering -- including spiritual suffering -- is moving from the fringes of the global health care value equation to the center along with cure of disease. (The Lancet)

Sister Jean Guides Ramblers On and Off the Court

More about the woman who became a media sensation during the NCAA Final Four. (Loyola University Chicago)

HCCN-TV® The Spiritual Care Network is a series of ten television episodes that provide spiritual care information, inspiration and comfort.
December 2017  Issue No. 28


Spiritual Care Association (SCA) visits Capitol Hill
Spiritual Care Association (SCA) President and CEO Rev. Eric J. Hall visited Capitol Hill on Tues, Dec. 12, 2017, where he met with key members of Congress to expand access to quality spiritual care.
Wholeness of Life Gala 2017 Community Honorees
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ hosted its annual Wholeness of Life Gala on Thurs, Nov. 16, 2017, at Guastavino's in New York City. Each year, the organization recognizes men and women who dedicate their lives to the spiritual care field in their community. This year, HCCN honored seven individuals.

Palliative Care

Canada passes end-of-life health care bill
On Tues, Dec. 12, 2017, Canada passed Bill C-277, more popularly known as the "Framework on Palliative Care in Canada Act."  It will grant people the option of quality end-of-life care. (CBC News) 
Introducing palliative care to developing nations
Nearly 25 million people die each year in low-to-middle-income countries due to lack of painkillers. A study by The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief found that the large contrast could be the catalyst to introducing palliative care to developing nations. (The New York Times)

Spiritual Care

The future of spiritual care
Times are changing, which could be good or bad for chaplains. On one hand, only half of American adults attend religious services, but more people claim to be more spiritual today than ever. What does this mean for those in the spiritual care field?  (HuffPost) 

Obtain one full day of education before the start of the Conference with our 
Pre-Conference Intensives on Sunday, April 22.


Adventure sports to assist in spirituality
It is well known that having a connection with nature aids in a person's spirituality. A look at how adventure sports brings one closer to their enlightenment. (Daily Pioneer)

End-of-Life Care

The holidays may be the best time to discuss end-of-life care

Think about it: you may only see certain family members around the holidays. According to Hospice of Cincinnati, this may be the ideal time to have "the talk" about end-of-life care. (Cincinnati.com)

Health Report
The health effects of social isolation and loneliness

Social isolation and loneliness are not necessarily related; however, they both have an effect on a person's health that is quite surprising. (The New York Times)

Good Reads

Managing depression during the holidays

It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed - which can lead to depression - over the holidays. Whether it be the various activities going on, purchasing holiday presents or the possible meal at the home of loved ones, all of this can generate stress. Learn how to control it. (Forbes)

Not only Santa can spread holiday joy

Each year, an anonymous businessman gives thousands of dollars to strangers around the country. This year, this "Secret Santa" visited areas of Texas where the effects of the hurricane is still being felt. (WTKR.com)

Read more


Our 2017-2018 Accomplishments and Outlook: Creating the New World of Spiritual Care is now available online!  

Dear Franklin,
We are living in unsettled times.
A quick Internet search on the prevalence of fear and worry in America today will yield broad coverage of the subject and the issues driving this widespread apprehension. From just a brief sampling:
  • “Why Americans are More Afraid than They Used to Be” (Time Magazine)
  • “Mass Shootings and Trauma: In a World that No Longer Feels Safe, How Do We Cope?” (USA Today)
  • “We're Living in the Age of Fear” (Rolling Stone Magazine)
  • “Americans are More Fearful of Terrorism than at Any Other Time since 9/11” (Time Magazine)
Americans are unsure about the safety of their families, finances, and communities. At the same time, many are facing life-altering situations of their own that can include their or a family member’s health crisis, loss of a loved one, troubled relationships, and isolation due to age, illness or any number of factors in their personal lives.
Someone to Talk To 
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network hears from people every day who are struggling to face the fear in their own lives, or hoping to help another who is suffering from illness, addiction, depression, or other difficulties that challenge us to our core. Our line is open to people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and worldviews, and is not restricted to addressing one particular type of problem.
HCCN offers a place to turn for anyone seeking support, understanding, and an end to isolation that is sometimes fueled by fear or despair. Our chaplains offer person-to-person care at numerous hospitals and outpatient facilities in New York and beyond. And, via phone, email or video call, people are reaching out to our helpline – called Chat with a Chaplain or Chat with a Counselor – for connection, relief and a way forward.
Why Chaplains?
Misunderstanding continues to this day about what chaplains do. Dispelling this misunderstanding is critically important, especially given the unique set of skills that chaplains bring to their work. A chaplain can be part of any faith tradition, or no faith tradition. She or he may be a clergy member, but even chaplains who are clergy are specifically trained – through both academic work and a clinical residency – to address the emotional, existential and spiritual needs of anyone who seeks help, regardless of that person’s faith, or lack thereof. Proselytizing is not under the chaplain’s purview. Chaplaincy care is open to all, without exception.    
In this complete openness and compassionate understanding that all faiths – whether of organized traditions or individually-held – connect with each other in our spiritual depths, chaplaincy is a profession that can bring healing in these times of fear, hurtful rhetoric and division.  
Reaching More People at Times of Deepest Need
At HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, we are working to make a greater difference in this world of ever-increasing need – to reach greater numbers of people in crisis with our Chat with a Chaplain or Chat with a Counselor helpline, and to provide more bedside chaplaincy services at our partner hospitals where we care for patients, families and medical staff.
Indeed, the services of our chaplains are more in demand than ever before. In 2017, we added six new hospitals to those where we provide direct chaplaincy care. Increasing numbers of nurses, social workers and doctors are looking to HealthCare Chaplaincy for education on how to address the spiritual, emotional and existential concerns of their patients – how, in other words, to care for the human spirit in conjunction with all else they do. And we are leading the way in defining and sharing best practices to ensure that this kind of care, which considers patients’ values and deepest concerns, is based on what works in relieving suffering and improving patient experience and satisfaction.   
Your year-end support will make a profound difference
in the lives of many who are facing the challenges
that can define us as human beings.
Your gift will enable HealthCare Chaplaincy Network to help individuals overcome fear, pain and isolation and work toward resolution as together we face our world, ourselves, and our potential for wholeness and happiness. 
Wishing you every blessing for a peaceful holiday season and coming year.
Rev. Eric J. Hall
President and CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network


November 2017  Issue No. 27


Inaugural Spiritual Care Briefing on Capitol Hill
Entitled, "Spiritual Care: What It Means, Why It Matters in Health Care," HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) and, its affiliate, Spiritual Care Association (SCA) hosted the first meeting on Capitol Hill for United States legislators and their staff at the end of October.
Newest Evidenced-Based White Paper is Released
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and Spiritual Care Association have released their latest white paper on the integration of spiritual care in the medical field for the role of a physician entitled "Spiritual Care and Physicians: Understanding Spirituality in Medical Practice."  This is third white paper by both organizations.

Palliative Care

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) has deemed November to be National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. This year's theme is "It's about how you live." During these 30 days, uncover resources that can assist in educating and promoting the cause. (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization).

Palliative Care to aid in advanced lung cancer

The improvement of medical treatment over the past 10 years has been positive for those diagnosed with various illnesses. In a video interview, Dr. Sara F. Martin, M.D. explains the benefits that palliative care can have on the side effects of advanced lung cancer. (Cure Today)


Life satisfaction is higher for those who are spiritual
The relationship between happiness and spirituality continues.  In a recent study, evidence supports that Americans who identify as spiritual and religious or spiritual, but not religious, are more satisfied with their lives. (HuffPost)

End-of-Life Care

The best time to make end-of-life decisions

Connecticut Hospital Association created a program in 2016 called Care Decisions Connecticut to promote the quality of life for those with terminal illnesses. (New Haven Register)

Health Report
Don't be an overachiever; stay home if you are ill

For some, it is difficult to take time off work when they are not feeling well, because they do not want to seem unreliable or appear replaceable.  Not surprisingly, doctors advise to take a sick day or two, as coming to work can actually hurt others more than it may harm you. (The New York Times)

Good Reads

Remembering Veteran's Day with a Veteran, who is also a Chaplain
Veteran's Day was celebrated on Saturday. That day held special significance to Berean Rev. Joe White, who is a veteran and a chaplain at Lexington Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He explains what it means to serve those who have served.  (Richmond Register)


The Wholeness of Life Gala will take place tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 16, at Guastavino's in New York City! Learn what this event means to us.

October 2017  Issue No. 26


HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) forms partnership with New York State Chaplains Task Force (NYSCTF)
Through its affiliate, Spiritual Care Association, HCCN and NYSCTF will be working closely to heighten attention to the need for spiritual care services in their local communities and around the country.

Palliative Care

Mesothelioma patients did not respond to palliative care

Inspired by a 2010 study which led to the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommending that palliative care start early for all cancer patients, a new study shows that palliative care did not improve the quality of life on newly-diagnosed mesothelioma patients. (Medical Xpress)

Senegal improves its palliative care efforts 

A 2012 study found that 16 of out 22 countries in Francophone Africa had no healthcare providers administering palliative care. Since then, the government of Senegal has made improving access to palliative care a priority. (Human Rights Watch)

April 23-25, 2018, Sheraton New Orleans



State of the Science of Spirituality and Palliative Care Research
A two-part review, which was formulated from a conference on "State of the Science in Spirituality and Palliative Care Research," held at Duke Integrative Medicine. Part 1 addresses the current landscape of outcomes in research in palliative care, while Part 2 explores current research guiding spiritual care provisions to patients and families within palliative care. (Journal of Pain and Symptom Management)
Read more:   Intro    Part 1   Part 2
Cutting stereotypes with spiritual inclusion 
Understanding what makes us different leads us to appreciate those diversities. The Transformations Spirituality Center aims to remove inaccurate stereotypes by offering programs, performances and concerts to address current issues. (Western Herald)

Paid advertisement
To advertise with HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, contact comm@healthcarechaplaincy.org 

End-of-Life Care

Faith communities bring end-of-life care planning to the forefront

Advance care planning is still an after thought for many people. Leaders of various faith communities work hard to educate their members on the benefits of having a strategy in place. (The Pew Charitable Trusts)

Health Report
Improve your wellbeing with a healthy workplace
Because people spend the majority of their time at work, it is important to have a work environment that is healthy. A negative work space leads to poor mental and physical health, while the opposite not only promotes happiness, but productivity, too. (UN News Centre)

Empathizing too much diminishes your health

In a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, the more empathetic a person was, the more he/she experienced anxiety or low-level depression. (The Washington Post)
Read more

Good Reads

Good economy = a rise in death rates
Though the above title can be alarming, this is only in the short term. For example, in a recession, the unemployed can sleep longer, have more time to exercise and may eat more health.  Learn more of the factors for this analysis. (New York Times)


Our online store is a one-stop resource center for educational content, publications, research and tools for chaplains and other professionals working in spiritual care, palliative care and health care.  
Explore what we have to help you. 
September 2017  Issue No. 25


Registration for the Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference is now open
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network will host its 5th annual Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, April 23-25, 2018, in New Orleans, LA. There will be over 30 workshops, Pre-Conference Intensives and a specialty track for nurses and social workers.
Register by January 31, 2018, for a chance to win two tickets to the New Orleans Jazz Fest! Discounted rate for SCA members.

Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference

Spiritual Care

Spiritual training for doctors

A study conducted by Faith in Practice has shown that doctors who are trained on spirituality are twice as likely to conduct regular spiritual assessment. (Fierce Healthcare)

Palliative Care

Palliative care needed sooner than later

Yale University School of Medicine conducted a study which shows that earlier access to hospice and palliative care are needed to address disability at the end of life. (Globe News Wire)

Palliative Care - Viewpoints

The demand for palliative care rises

The benefits of palliative care continues to grow. Dr. Helen Senderovich explains why she administers this type of treatment as opposed to others.  (The Star)

Paid advertisement
To advertise with HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, contact comm@healthcarechaplaincy.org 

End-of-Life Care

Hospice care as an afterthought

Although Medicare has fully covered the cost of hospice care for the terminally ill since 1982, only 43% of people have initiated that type of care. (U.S. News)
Talking about death can be very useful 
It makes sense to inform loved ones on end-of-life care is helpful when it comes to making decisions if the patient is unable to do so. However, putting it into practice is so much harder.


The link between spirituality and the environment
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have reminded people of the power of Mother Nature. While we feel we have an important role on this planet - possibly by our job; our role as a provider - it can be taken away in an instant.  How can this aid in our spiritual journey? (Edmond Sun)

Health Report

Whole person care starts with food
You know the saying: "You are what you eat." This has never been more true than now. Maintaining a healthy diet supports brain, mental and physical health. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

The need for social connection is higher than you think
In the age of social media, people are more isolated. Loneliness can cause severe health problems that were once solely attributed to poor diet and genetics. (American Journal of Managed Care)

Good Reads
Raising funds for a homeless man

Mental health issues has driven a Colorado man to become homeless. However, generosity has gotten him on his feet.
Read more


The Excellence in Spiritual Care Award is a unique recognition. The program is designed to affirm strengths and create a guide for improving the provision of spiritual care based on identified best practices.  Read about the evaluation process.
Contact Rev. Amy Strano to learn more
212.644.1111 x219
August 2017  Issue No. 24


HealthCare Chaplaincy Network Hosts CPE Program at Mercy Health - Youngstown
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) has partnered with Mercy Health - Youngstown in Ohio in advancing their Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program by providing a CPE Certified Educator, as well as introducing HCCN's CPE online program to the organization.

Palliative Care

Costa Rica opens new Center for Pain and Palliative Care of the Social Security Administration

Since January 1991, Costa Rica began applying palliative medicine. The inauguration of its newest center will ensure that up to 12,000 patients receive various forms of palliative care. (Costa Rica Star)
Understanding the need for palliative care

In a Netflix documentary entitled Extremis, palliative care physician Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter highlights the way to decrease physical and emotional suffering to offer patients a more humane way to die. (NPR)
Read more

Spiritual Care

When medicine no longer works

Spiritual care is an unseen sedative that affects the health care decision-making of a patient. Research has shown that spiritual care reduces patient suffering and improves their quality of life. (US News)  
Spirituality reducing veteran suicide
In 2014, Veterans Affairs released a study showing that 20 veterans died from suicide each day displaying a neglected area in care. This year, the Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention at the Canandaigua, NY,  Veterans Affair Medical Center announced a study on the positive link between using spiritual care to assist in veteran suicide prevention. (MP Now)

End-of-Life Care

The End-of-Life Option Act

In June 2016, California became the fourth state in the United States to allow medical aid in dying for patients suffering from terminal illness. However, when a patient makes a request, are doctors able to professionally assist from a personal standpoint? (NY Times)
Patient Experience

The art of listening

Though an advanced degree and years of experience are very important for anyone who wants to become a chaplain, the most underrated skill is listening. Responding to the needs of a patient can be a thin line between what the person does and does not say. (In Depth)


Integrating spirituality into patient care

According to a study by Adventist Health System, health care professionals who receive adequate training on engaging patients on issues of spirituality are twice as likely to conduct regular spiritual assessments. (Fierce Healthcare)

Health Report

The relationship between religion and body weight
Body weight has been labeled as a health concern, but researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, note that it is also an important psychosocial identity as they analyze the correlation between religion and body weight. (Healio.com)

Good Reads
A milkshake fulfills a dying woman's wish

After experiencing a second bout of pancreatic cancer at a hospice in Arlington, VA, a woman (an Ohio native) requested a milkshake from Tommy's restaurant in Cleveland Heights, OH. To her surprise, she received it! (WGN TV)
Read more

Finding healing in religious songs

While the link between spirituality and mental health is well known, nurse Jill Hamilton examines the impact of religious songs on African American cancer survivors. (Emory)

Read more


HealthCare Chaplaincy Network's Caring for the Human Spirit complimentary magazine is released twice a year (April and October).  If you are interested in receiving the hard copy, please send an email to Charysse Harper - charper@healthcarechaplaincy.org 
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.
February 2017  Issue No. 18

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.
   January 2017  Issue No. 17

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

   December 2016  Issue No. 16

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

Start a CPE Center at Your Facility

Earn revenue for your department or for yourself as either a CPE Supervisor or Supervisor in Training
Learn More
Doctors and Others)


   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 
Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference 
March 13-15, 2017 | Chicago, IL.
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. 
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  
Caring for the Human Spirit® Conference
March 13-15, 2017 | Chicago, IL.
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 about the conference? Email us at events@healthcarechaplaincy.org