resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
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 more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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