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New December Issue of the Informative Patient- Centered Care Newsletter Is Here

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   December 2015     Issue No. 5
Patient-Centered Care News
We hope that you find this monthly e-newsletter informative. We have included a downloadable PDF version created for readers who prefer that format.
Below are short summaries of each item that has been selected, and links to the entire pieces.
Please feel free to send any questions or comments to comm@healthcarechaplaincy.org.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy New Year.

Rev. Eric J. Hall
President & CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, Inc.

Timely for This Holiday Season
A Short List for Grief and the Holidays (Huffington Post)
The Rev. Sue Wintz, a highly experienced board-certified professional chaplain and a bereaved parent writes:
There are two different types of grief that can occur during the holiday season. The first, and most obvious, is when a loved one dies during that time. The second is for those who have been bereaved for some time, whether it is weeks, months, or years before the current season begins. It's important to realize that while there are differences in each experience, both have the potential to become intense during the holidays, and chaplains need to be aware of how persons in either category may need support.

Writing a list of what to know when caring for grieving persons during the holidays can be endless, and many that you will find on websites, books, or other literature may be quite long. What I want to provide is a short list, the three things that both professionals, such as health care providers, co-workers, and others who know and love persons living with grief can and should keep front and center as they consider their care. 
Patient Experience
How to Create Exceptional Patient Experiences -- Without Exception (Hospital & Health Networks) 

Framing the Issue
  • Patient experience is growing in importance as a performance measure for hospitals, especially as patients become more savvy health care consumers.
  • Medicare holds back part of its reimbursement, and doesn't pay it back until the end of a payment period, based partly on HCAHPS scores.
  • Hospital leaders are using a variety of tactics to measure and improve patient experience scores.
  • Training caregivers on how to improve patient experience is critical
What Health Care Leaders Need to Do to Improve Value for Patients (Harvard Business Review)
More and more health care organizations are beginning to track their performance on outcomes - and they're finding that getting started isn't easy.  The change that's needed can be overwhelming. Measuring outcomes requires redesigned workflows, enhanced coordination across departments, and investment in new resources.  Above all, it requires strong resolve and adept leadership.
So how are today's health care leaders implementing outcomes measurement in their hospitals and clinics? Through our experience working alongside many of them, we've identified five leadership imperatives. 
What the Healthcare Industry Can Learn From Starbucks, Nordstrom and Amazon (Forbes)

Dr. David Feinberg, the president and CEO of Geisinger Health System who made headlines when his company announced a money-back guarantee for patients who are dissatisfied with their experience, suggested that the answers to healthcare's greatest issues will not come from within, but rather, other industries.
Read More
Palliative Care

New Competencies Address Professional Chaplains' Important role in the Delivery of Palliative Care (California State University Institute for Palliative Care and HealthCare Chaplaincy Network)
The consistent delivery of evidence-informed practice in any discipline of health care requires the definition of competencies that must be met. Competencies define skills and attributes that staff, from physicians to dietary aides, are expected to meet in the daily performance of their responsibilities.
The California State University Institute for Palliative Care and HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) have responded to the need for evidence-informed palliative care competencies required of professional chaplains who provide palliative and end-of-life care, by defining 11 competencies as well as three levels of progression. The competencies equip organizations and chaplains with a framework to respond to the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care Clinical Practice Guidelines, which call for a board certified chaplain to be a member of the interdisciplinary palliative care team. 
Components of what would become the 11 competencies influenced the development of two online professional education courses offered jointly by the two organizations: the Foundational level course Palliative Care Chaplaincy Specialty Certificate, introduced in 2013; and the Advanced level course Advanced Spirituality Practice in Palliative Care, which was introduced this year. 
The Evidence for Early Palliative Care in Cancer Patients (Medscape Oncology - requires creating login for free account)
In recent years, evidence has grown for using palliative care early in cancer patients, but it is still not incorporated as much as it should be. At the 2015 European Cancer Congress, clinicians discussed some of the challenges to integrating palliative care into oncology care.
According to Marie Bakitas, DNSc, associate director of the Center for Palliative and Supportive Care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, there is plenty of evidence for the benefits of early palliative care.
It's Time to Talk Honestly about Dying (Washington Post)
Karl Lorenz, a professor of medicine at Stanford University where he serves as section chief of palliative care programs, writes:

Medicare recently proposed paying doctors for end-of-life planning, including the lengthy and repeated conversations that sometimes entails. One of the biggest oversights in end-of-life care is the need to ask patients or their families if they have had helpful end-of-life conversations. Health-care systems that do measure this tend to find significant gaps in quality, and the much larger Medicare system shouldn't let doctors off the hook. Payment might help, but simply creating more advance directives won't foster better end-of-life care unless we ensure good, high-quality discussions. 

While we need professionals who communicate well, there's plenty of evidence that doctors need not be the only ones for the job. Nurses, social workers and spiritual advisers play critical professional roles, and lay advocates are another consideration.
Spiritual Care

Why Doctors Need to Consider Spiritual Health (philly.com)

Christina Puchalski, M.D., who directs George Washington University's Institute for Spirituality and Health, spoke to medical students and staff at the University of Pennsylvania's medical school about how doctors who are attuned to spiritual health - what gives life meaning - can engage in a "healing relationship."...

Though doctors clearly must focus on providing good clinical care, Puchalski said knowing what mattered to patients spiritually was essential for making the best medical decisions. She used the example of an 88-year-old woman with aggressive breast cancer. Initially, she chose surgery and chemotherapy, but after a discussion about how much her independence mattered to her, she picked treatment that would better preserve her quality of life.

Puchalski's definition of spirituality goes well beyond religion. It includes whatever it is in people that makes them seek meaning, purpose, and transcendence. That might include aspects of relationships with family, society, or nature that feel significant and sacred.
How Chaplains Offer Comfort During "The Most Existential Moments of Our Lives" - Podcast (Interfaith Voices/Public Radio)
You can find them in hospitals, prisons, businesses and even Congress, serving as spiritual guides through life's most fragile moments. A new documentary, Chaplains, explores the difficult and surprising role of chaplains in all areas of life. Hear from the film's director and two of the film's chaplains, one from a Hollywood retirement home, the other from a children's hospital.
Listen to or Download the Podcast 
Holiday Gift Ideas
Cards by Anne: These hand-designed cards carry "messages that speak to the heart." Artist Anne Kertz Kernion uses calligraphy, water color and/or ink to create the beautiful artwork and philosophical sayings. Available for all types of occasions, the cards are printed on 100 percent recycled paper.
Chaplain Stoles: Unique and handmade, chaplain stoles made by artist Chillon Leach are the perfect item to identify yourself or another as a spiritual care provider at your institution. Inspired by nature imagery, the stoles are suitable for any spiritual and religious denomination. Each is individually designed. This is just one of the hand-painted styles.
About HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ 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, suffering and grief find comfort and meaning--whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are. For more information, visit www.healthcarechaplaincy.org, call 212-644-1111, and connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.
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