Monday, September 28, 2015

The Million Dollar Survey

Chaplains will have an impact on Medicare reimbursements with their provision of spiritual care. Since CMS is placing a high degree of importance on the new Hospice CAHPS Survey, it behooves every hospice Chaplain to look at the Survey to find out what is being evaluated by the surviving family member(s) who complete the Survey. If the results of the Surveys are not good, it could cost a hospice of our size (1,000+ patients) a 2% decrease in reimbursements or over 1 million dollars. So, what’s in that Survey that a Chaplain should be concerned about? The primary question the family will answer is #36: Support for religious or spiritual beliefs, including talking, praying, quiet time, or other ways of meeting your religious or spiritual needs. While your family member was in hospice care, how much support for your religious and spiritual beliefs did you get from the hospice team? The family will answer one of three ways: Too Little, Right Amount, Too Much. Please do not think that because the final 3 words in the question #36 end with “the hospice team” that it excuses the Chaplain from responsibility. As the Chaplain the family will be looking you for direction and effective spiritual support during their loved one’s and their journey in the hospice experience. Other than providing spiritual support for the patient that is loving, encouraging, and compassionate, how can a Chaplain positively impact the family? Particularly for facility patients (LTC, hospital, and hospice house), the family members are not always present when a Chaplain visits. However, the Chaplain has access to the Primary Care Giver’s telephone numbers. After each visit with the patient, the Chaplain will place a phone call to the PCG informing that person of the visit and will express sincere concern for the PCG by asking, “And how are you?” Chaplains, this is a million dollar survey. While we have a small part in it, it is a vital part. Do your hospice ministry and by all means, be sure to include a phone call to the PCG and document it.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Our biggest day!

Yesterday was our biggest day. Hundreds of guests logged onto Embraced. Welcome! Please use this site to enhance your understanding of hospice chaplaincy and use the concepts and best practice principles to grow professionally. Your comments are also welcome and are a source of encouragement. Blessings!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

3 Pitfalls of Value Judgments--Leadership Tips

Before I attempt to assign the 3 pitfalls, let me define what a value judgment is. A value judgment is an assessment that reveals more about the values of the person making the assessment than about the reality of what is assessed. In any value judgment there is the assumption that the person making the judgment knows all the facts, which they don’t. Yet, when a person with a title makes the judgment, the person who was assessed as deficient is pigeon-holed with a reputation he or she cannot shake. That is a shame, but it is the reality. This happens for some reason a lot in hospice work as leaders and team members work through their day to day challenges. The 3 pitfalls include: 1. An unfair assessment of an IDT member’s worth based upon a snapshot of time in an IDT meeting. When a value judgment is made about that person, it is quick like the cutting of a vegetable with a razor sharp knife. A value judgment disregards what the person is going through at the time and disregards one of the key elements of an IDT meeting. That element is safety. In an IDT the Team comes to work but a team also comes to care for its own. Value judgments take that aspect of the Team off the table and relegate people to robots. Not a good thing. 2. Value judgments cultivate a shallow view of people. It takes no time at all to decide whether someone is good or bad at their field work based on a Team member having a bad day. Shallow leadership is unhealthy leadership and unhealthy leadership is damaging to the organization and leads to recurring employee turnover. 3. Value judgments create instability on the IDT. It doesn’t take long for Team members to pick up on the fact that their leader thinks little of them. Again, a value judgment neglects the outstanding work a Team member may do in the field with patients and families and focuses on a small portion of time with that worker. Morale suffers when workers believe their leader think so little of them. A key value of leadership is to know one’s Team, to know the individuals on the Team, to know the issues they face at work and elsewhere. If the worker was hired because of excellent skills then that worker must be given the opportunity to be human from time to time. To pigeon hole a worker without knowing that person is exceptionally unwise. Beware then of falling into the trap of making quick, unfounded value judgments.