Breakthrough for Professional Chaplaincy
in New Palliative Care Guidelines
The new edition of Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care issued by the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care states that ideally the interdisciplinary palliative care team should include a board certified, professional chaplain and that spirituality is a “fundamental aspect of compassionate, patient and family centered care that honors the dignity of all persons.”
This formal statement about professional chaplains and expanded guidelines about spiritual, religious, and existential aspects of care represent's a major recognition by the professional palliative care field about the role of each.
HealthCare Chaplaincy consultants, the Reverends George Handzo and Sue Wintz, contributed significantly to the development of the spiritual and chaplaincy care guidelines, and their recommendations were adopted verbatim in almost all cases. HealthCare Chaplaincy is one of 40 organizations that have endorsed the guidelines (see partial list below), and will be applying them throughout its clinical practice and research and education programs.
These guidelines were created by the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, whose members are the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Center to Advance Palliative Care, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, National Association of Social Workers, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and the National Palliative Care Research Center.
The guidelines were announced at the March annual conference of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine by National Consensus Project co-chairs, Diane E. Meier, MD, FACP, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care and Betty Ferrell, PhD, RN, FAAN, FPCN, research scientist at City of Hope.
At the announcement, Dr. Ferrell stated emphatically, “Quality palliative care includes all eight domains (areas of care). If you are not providing excellent spiritual care, you are not providing palliative care.”
Dr. Meier said, “The new palliative care guidelines encourage discipline-specific certification for each of the major disciplines in a palliative care program, even for chaplaincy.”
The full text of the new Guidelines is available here.
40 organizations have endorsed these Guidelines. Besides the member organizations
and HealthCare Chaplaincy, these include:
American Academy of Nursing
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American College of Surgeons
American Geriatrics Society
Association for Clinical Pastoral Education
Association of Professional Chaplains
Center for Practical Bioethics
The Gerontological Society of America
Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association
National Association of Catholic Chaplains
National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long-Term Care
National Association of Jewish Chaplains
National Association of Neonatal Nurses
National Association of Social Workers
Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network
Feeling the Pain of Muslims and Christians Alike.
Profile of Rabbi Nathan Goldberg
“It was the start of my chaplaincy career,” says Rabbi Nathan Goldberg, relating an event of great significance to him. “I had just come from Israel where I was doing my seminary studies, and I was training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for my residency. I stopped in to visit a Middle Eastern dignitary who was undergoing cancer treatments. He knew I was a rabbi, but we were able to connect emotionally on the suffering he was experiencing. We developed a friendship, and both lamented that there aren’t other opportunities for people like us to get together and just talk like human beings, not adversaries. We prayed together and that made me realize there’s something in the human connection beyond external political/religious boundaries that could connect us as creatures of God rather than enemies.”
Rabbi Goldberg is clearly aware of the transformation he’s gone through from his teaching and learning experiences. “What’s profound for me in chaplaincy is both the relationships that happen and the learning…the growth that I get from being exposed to people who are open and vulnerable and willing to wrestle with the problem as I try to help them find a more whole way of embracing their spirituality.”
Rabbi Goldberg is a member of the clinical faculty of HealthCare Chaplaincy and a clinical pastoral education (CPE) supervisor at the Mount Sinai Medical Center where he initiated the CPE program, including the recruitment and supervision of students, and curriculum design.
He holds B.A and M.S. degrees from Yeshiva University, where he also received his ordination. He is currently a doctoral student in adult learning and organizational leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. As the only Orthodox Rabbi with supervisory certification from the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, he has a keen interest in bringing theological reflection into the education experiences of his students who are many faiths.
Among his clinical experiences, Rabbi Goldberg ran spirituality groups on psychiatric, eating disorder, and chemical dependency units. It was in the eating disorder unit that he saw the connection between diseased spirituality and physical disease with profound clarity.
“I always believed that there is a spiritual element to illness,” says Rabbi Goldberg. “With eating disorders, I found that the disease itself was a spiritual challenge…caught up in a diseased use of religion. Down South it wasn’t unusual for a 14 year old girl with an eating disorder to say ‘I’m responsible for Christ’s death. I put the nail in his hand.' As a result of feeling that way, the patients take on an incredible amount of guilt and feel that they’re achieving some kind of atonement by fasting. It’s very black and white to them. So it was ironic to be an Orthodox Rabbi working with fundamentalist Christian patients, helping them to reframe their Christianity in a more healthy way."
Register Now for Second Free Workshop on Caring for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers. First One in March “Sold Out”.
Due to popular demand HealthCare Chaplaincy and the Alzheimer’s Association, NYC Chapter, are repeating the free Sixth Annual Interfaith Workshop for chaplains and other clergy on June 12th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the chapter’s offices at, 360 Lexington Avenue, New York City, 3rd Floor. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Featured speakers are:
- Jed A. Levine, Executive Vice President, Director, Programs and Services, Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter will update chaplains on new diagnostic guidelines, potential pathways to new treatments, and new resources for persons living with dementia and their families.
- Stephen G. Post, Ph.D. , Professor of Preventive Medicine and Founding Director (2008) of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine will address the issues of selfhood and finding hope and meaning in ministering to the deeply forgetful.
- Dan Cohen, MSW, the founding Executive Director of Music & Memory, will help chaplains understand the power of personalized music in connecting with those with all levels of dementia. Mr. Cohen will report and demonstrate the success of his innovative iPod Project that is improving the quality of life for elders in nursing homes and other long term care settings across the country and the world.
- Nancy Lee Hendley, MFA, and Alejandro Berti, BA, Dementia Care Trainers at the Alzheimer’s Association, NYC Chapter will explore a variety of ways to communicate, connect, and engage with persons with dementia. In this interactive session they will help chaplains understand the world of a person with dementia in a deeply personal way and demonstrate effective methods to reach those in long term care settings.
One attendee at the March workshop, a spiritual care coordinator for home bound hospice patients, says, “I left the workshop knowing that my work had been validated, and I felt encouraged not only to continue, but to expand my service.”
Workshop attendees, will receive a certificate verifying continuing professional education hours completed.
Register now for this free workshop. Call Linda Centeno at (646) 744-2923 or e-mail at LCenteno@alznyc.org.
Meet Extraordinary Patient Care Honoree
Hassan Khouli, MD, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital
A highlight of our 2012 Wholeness of Life Awards Dinner on November 8th was the celebration of patient care honorees – remarkable men and women who provide extraordinary care for their patients. All were chosen by their peers at the partner institutions where HealthCare Chaplaincy manages, staffs, and operates board certified chaplaincy services.
We are pleased to profile one honoree in each issue of HealthCare Chaplaincy Today.
Here’s what his colleagues say about honoree Hassan Khouli, MD, Chief, Critical Care Section, St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital.
“Hassan, throughout your career at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, you have dedicated yourself to providing outstanding medical care with a respect for patients, families and ethical choices.
“Your strong sense of caring for those who are sick and suffering exemplifies the traits of compassionate physician and humane individual.
“You have led work in many areas, including palliative care and organ donation, and have deeply touched the lives of your colleagues as well as patients and their families.”
Follow us and join the conversations on spirit –centered palliative care.