Wednesday, April 1, 2015

3 Guidelines to Organize Your Work

It almost sounds silly to even talk about the importance of organizing your work as a Chaplain. But, in this day and time of hyper-vigilance on the part of Palmetto and other accrediting agencies it is an absolute must. First, what tools do you have to help you organize? By now, most all hospices are charting with a computer program. Most programs hospices use have a scheduling piece. Second, how many patients are on your caseload? Third, how many meetings are you required to attend and when are they? Fourth, what is your productivity requirement? Now that you have the basics, you have to put some time into the scheduling piece of your program. 1. Your patients are grouped according to nurses. Each nurse has 15-20 patients on average, so let’s begin at this point. The nurse’s patients on home teams are usually grouped together geographically. This suggests that if you are going to be efficient with your time that you also group your visits geographically. Contact your patients in that geographic area with visits for Monday. Place the name of the patients and the time agreed upon in your scheduling program. Do the same for each nurse on your team. And, keep in mind, the industry standard is for a Chaplain to make on average 4 visits per day. 2. If you are a facilities team Chaplain, then you want to visit patients according to the facilities on your caseload. My experience taught me that when I had 8 patients in a facility that I would drive to the facility, park my car, and spend the day visiting and charting. I would group the facilities with fewer patients geographically and make visits and chart. The benefit of facilities is that you can find a place to do charting. Finish your work by 4:30 and go home. 3. By now, you have thought, “Ok, my world is not as perfect as yours! This is not working for me.” Gotcha! I understand for sure. You will have the occasional emergency that will ruin the best of plans. You take care of the emergency and do one of two things: go back to your home patient plan or visit some of your facility patients and then re-work your plan. Please don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Your scheduling program allows you to change who you visit and when. It’s not a set-in-stone thing. Flexibility is a required virtue for hospice Chaplains! Working and re-working your visitation schedule is normal. The most helpful process I followed was to lay out a 2-week plan, and then begin to work it. I knew who needed visits and when to stay in compliance and prioritized accordingly. If, when I called to set an appointment with a patient whose compliance visit was close and they couldn’t see me before that date, I charted that and set an appointment for when they could see me. Diligence, initiative, and determination form a good acrostic: DID. My grandson is learning to talk and when he does something he considers difficult, he yells, “I DID it!” And, you will do likewise when at the end of the month all your patients are in compliance. YOU did it, too! Bless you Chaplain Colleagues. Your work is difficult not only in providing the face to face spiritual care, but organizing your work to meet compliance requirements.

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