resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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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