resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
August, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 08
Documentation in Hospice: What Do Employers Expect?
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
Hospice organizations that hire or contract massage therapists expect professionalism. They expect sound documentation skills. Although there isn't a lot of consistency in how documentation is carried out, what IS consistent is the requirement to do it, and do it well.I once spoke with a hospice director who told me, "We use to have a massage therapist but it didn't work out." When I asked her what went wrong, she said one reason was that, "her documentation was poor quality." The take-away message here is: Sharpen your documentation skills and accept that it is an important part of the job if you want to work in any aspect of our health care system.
The main reason you became a massage therapist most likely wasn't because you were excited about doing paperwork or writing progress notes. Ask any nurse or physical therapist or physician and they will tell you it isn't their favorite thing, either. I've found if I re-frame my ideas about documentation, then an attitude adjustment is quick to follow. What follows are good reasons to pay close attention to your documentation skills.
Credibility: How you represent your work in progress notes reflects your degree of professionalism in the eyes of employers and coworkers.
Efficacy: Progress notes provide a means to track effectiveness of techniques or approaches in attaining desired goals.
Functional Outcomes: Your notes tell a story, over time, about the difference massage makes in your client's activities of daily living.
Improved relationship with colleagues: When your documentation provides valuable information for coworkers, your work is taken more seriously and you demonstrate that you are a team player.
Legal record: Documentation is your legal record of the services you provided.
Marketable skills: When applying for a position in hospice, highlight experience you have with healthcare documentation.
Don't just take my word for it. I did an online search for massage therapy jobs in hospice and in almost all notices job requirements referred to documentation skills. It's also worth noting that the number of job notices online is growing. Here are a few examples taken from postings that mention expectations with regards to documentation:
Keeping SOAP Notes Simple
For those of you whose eyes cross at the mention of progress notes, I want to offer a simple guide that is relevant to hospice. Since many use SOAP notes, it's likely you will be required to use this format. Think of a SOAP note as a picture of the session, showing the reader what you observed of your client; what you did, how your client responded and what you plan to do for future sessions.
S = Subjective information. In this section, record verbal comments your client makes about any of these things: their reason for and desired outcome of the session; a description of symptoms; the effect of symptoms on activities of daily living; and pain levels or other discomfort. It's common for the hospice care team to determine levels of pain using a pain scale the Wong-Baker Faces and Ruler Pain Rating Scale. You should also record any other relevant comments by the patient or family caregivers.
O= Objective observations. This section includes both observations of the client and what you did during the session. Describe just the facts about your observations — only what you can see, hear, touch or smell. Observations might include, but are not limited to special communication needs; breathing patterns; movement; muscle texture; functional mobility; body posture or position; skin condition; facial expression; sign of stress or agitation; interpersonal interaction; alertness; observation of confusion or memory loss; and non-verbal signs of pain.
The record of what you did should include information about site restrictions, precautions taken, the length of the session, bed or wheelchair positioning adaptations performed, massage or bodywork techniques that were utilized and which area of the body was addressed.
Descriptive language of the techniques used could include: focused touch, gentle compression, petrissage/kneading, effleurage/stroking, gentle stretching, holding, shared breathing, gentle rocking, moisturizing, abdominal massage, manual lymphatic drainage, energetic modality and caregiver instruction or support.
A= Assessment. Record the immediate results of the session including observed client responses and changes. Examples of observable responses might include signs of decreased pain; positive verbal comments; decreased agitated behaviors; fell asleep; increase in social interaction; appears more engaged; decreased muscle tension; relaxation response; deeper breathing; appears more alert; change in facial expression; improved movement; postural change; skin changes; returned touch; and improved ability to perform an activity of daily living.
P=Plan. This section includes information relevant to the treatment plan, including frequency of future sessions; additional client needs; treatment recommendations for future sessions and desired outcomes; client requests; and a need for caregiver instruction.
On the Job
I interviewed several massage therapists employed in hospice or long-term care about what documentation is required of them. As expected, it varies a great deal. Some organizations use electronic systems and more organizations are transitioning to electronic record keeping. Some organizations provide the therapist with documentation forms developed by the company. Other therapists must provide their own forms. Some use a structured SOAP note form with checklists, others write narrative notes or a combination of the two. Most organizations place the therapist's documentation in the medical record or other patient chart.
Valerie Stoughton Hartman is a Complementary Therapy Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse and Chairman of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) Allied Therapy Section. She says that complementary therapies have taken a place in mainstream services provided by hospice programs in the United States. While many hospices appreciate and grow volunteer complementary therapy programs, others remain committed to hiring hospice prepared therapists.
When it comes to documentation, the industry is in the midst of figuring out best practices. As it stands right now, documentation standards are dictated by each individual hospice program. Administrators make executive decisions in order to assure accurate documentation reflects the purposeful use of a modality. Hired therapists have a responsibility in the referral process, interdisciplinary team communication, evaluation, assessment and provision of service. Volunteer expectations are often much less demanding. The NHPCO is a resource for program development if a massage therapist volunteers or is hired to work with a hospice program that is a member of the organization.
I agree with Valerie when she encourages massage therapists working in hospice to join the NCHPP Allied Therapy Section, which oversees allied therapy and complementary therapy use and integration in end of life care. We can all have a voice in establishing best practices in this rapidly growing field of massage.
Click here for previous articles by Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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