Monday, September 29, 2014

3 Great Benefits of Outcome Oriented Chaplaincy

Whenever I teach a session on Outcome Oriented Chaplaincy, there are the incredulous who think that this takes the ‘heart’ out of hospice care. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What’s at the heart of Outcome Oriented Chaplaincy is spiritual care that is both insightful and high quality. The following are three great benefits of Outcome Oriented Chaplaincy: 1. OOC provides a Spiritual Plan of Care that identifies the spiritual concern(s) of the patient AND family/caregiver. At Cornerstone Hospice, a very progressive and highly successful organization, the Spiritual Plan of Care is OOC. The Chaplains identify the spiritual concern, and then discuss the outcome or resolution that the patient is seeking. The Chaplain uses his/her professional experience to select the proper interventions to use that will assist the patient to meet resolve the spiritual concern as much as possible. Likewise with the family/caregiver. Cornerstone is the only hospice I am aware of that has this dual focus on providing a Spiritual Plan of Care for patient and family/caregiver. The electronic record has the Chaplain complete the Care Plan for the patient in one section and the family/caregiver in a completely separate section of the Assessment. 2. OOC wins the approval of the IDT. In any IDT or in some cases, the IDG, is composed of highly trained participants: a physician (some certified in hospice and palliative care); a social worker (some are licensed, some are also counselors); volunteer specialists, bereavement counselors (some with a Master’s degree, others with a PhD); nurses (some with advanced degrees and now all must be certified in hospice and palliative care); and, CNA’s. The Chaplains at Cornerstone Hospice are required to have a Master’s degree in an appropriate field of theology and 3 units of Clinical Pastoral Education. As I understand the trending of requirements, at some point hospice chaplains will need to become Board Certified like our hospital counterparts. I say all of this to indicate that OOC promotes highly educated and skilled spiritual clinicians. Further, a hospice committed to OOC will have didactics to re-enforce the concepts that make OOC such an effective philosophy of care. 3. OOC develops skilled clinicians. Long gone are the days when a pastor would volunteer his/her time visiting the sick of a hospice. Hospice Chaplaincy is a recognized field of spiritual care by a number of cognate groups that have a specialty certification in Hospice and Palliative Care. If the goal is to assist patients to have a ‘good’ death, then it is fundamental to consider that the Chaplain must have the skills to identify and resolve spiritual/existential issues as much as possible prior to the patient’s death. The same applies to resolving the family/caregiver’s spiritual concerns. You can find more information about OOC in “Professional Spiritual & Pastoral Care” edited by Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts. This book is a classic for chaplaincy and is a collection of outstanding contributions by recognized leaders in chaplaincy service. Bless you, Chaplain Friends, as you make full proof of your ministry.

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