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)

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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) 

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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.  
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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)

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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)

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