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)

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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.