Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The #1 Characteristic Most Needed in the 21st Century

Adaptability: The #1 Characteristic Most Needed in the 21st Century Without question, change is the mantra of the 21st century. There have been major changes in hospice regulations: decrease in re-imbursement rates, higher demands for documentation from Medicare, regulations galore, and pressure to perform and survive. These types of changes have brought incredible stress to the leadership of hospices across the nation. Some hospices have not been able to survive. In fact, the myths associated with hospice have taken on a life of their own. From physicians to potential patients and their families, poor information is winning the day. In the IDT meetings the stress of regulatory oversight is taxing nurses with more documentation than they have had to deal with in previous days. And, more is expected of Chaplains regarding documentation and performance standards. In the not too distant future hospices will be reimbursed based on their scores on a family satisfaction survey. The scrutiny is unlike at any time in American hospice history. The IMPACT Act will require hospices to be surveyed once every three years to make sure the organization is competent and efficient. The Chaplain is the soul and conscience of the IDT. I have noticed that as the Chaplain’s demeanor goes, so goes the Team. That is a very broad statement but I believe it is true. The Chaplain has the power of influence. He or she usually opens an IDT meeting with an inspirational presentation and prayer (in many cases). The Team looks to the Chaplain for stability and strength. Our Chaplains are doing a great job supporting their Teams by actively caring for the Team members and through ancillary actions such as The Blessing of the Hands, Celebrations of Life, Memorial Wreath, and the daily work which highlights their clinical skills. The underlying element that makes the Chaplain so effective with the IDT is the characteristic of adaptability. When change is announced or experienced, adaptability requires a calm demeanor as evidenced by a relaxed facial expression and body language. If there is a need for a decision, the Chaplain will remain poised and use his or her wisdom in making a decision. In conclusion, change is upon us. This is not a new phenomenon. The question boils down to "will you be flexible and adaptable?" Bless you, Chaplain Friends, in your great work.

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