resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.