When first beginning to plan the Psychosocial and Spiritual Care Intensive, we took into account that the focus was on “next practices” versus best practices and that we wanted to have an Intensive that could help all disciplines become equipped with fresh ideas for the future, not only social workers, chaplains and counselors.
We utilized NHPCO's educational needs assessment and our own experience and knowledge of the current hospice industry as to what most see as the biggest challenges and educational need areas. We broke that down into 6-7 categories with many sub-categories under each. We then started discussion on focusing on 6 of the most prioritized, developed the topics of 6 sessions and possible speakers. Other meetings followed between our group and NHPCO to narrow down even further and solidify speakers.
There are opportunities for all disciplines to expand their roles in psychosocial and spiritual care. Not all disciplines know what to do beyond the medical perspective. Roles and skills can grow in this realm with knowledge from eastern influence and research . There are fewer resources across healthcare in general and hospice is not excluded from this. Staff has to do more with less and delve into other areas with which they are not familiar. Being able to teach families the skills they need to help the patient and family and themselves is pivotal in the future as resources continue to dwindle. This also allows staff to make families the heroes as well.
Acuity levels of families continue to increase and pose many challenges for the IDT. New ideas and knowledge is needed to move forward to address such challenging cases. There are many societal epidemics and issues that will continue growing and staff will need to be equipped in handling them.
There are opportunities for growth, increased communication and increased care coordination, in knowing how to utilize the self and language in having difficult conversations, utilizing effective communication skills and cutting edge ways for the entire IDT to address spiritual care and healing. Looking deeper within for cultural competence will be essential; we all have room for improvement. Innovative self-care interventions will take us into the future to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue.
The lack of resources, increased scrutiny and increased regulatory oversight will require all to be the best of the best going forward. This will require expert guidance and creativity to meet goals without an environment rich in resources.
Samantha Bechtel MSSA, LISW-S, ACHP-SW, GC-C
Chief Clinical Support Officer
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