CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Lufkin staff prides itself on treating not only the physical ailments of its patients, but also their social, emotional and spiritual needs, as well. The Texas Hospital Association recently recognized Memorial and its staff for implementing a protocol that identifies and addresses the psychosocial needs of cancer patients being treated in the hospital.
The American College of Surgeons notes that cancer is a complex disease process that affects patients in a variety of ways. Patients may experience psychological, social, financial, and behavioral issues that can interfere with their treatment plans and adversely impact their outcome. Accredited cancer programs assess cancer patients for distress and have a process in place to address psychosocial and other factors that can interfere with successful treatment.
Using the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Distress Thermometer, CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial implemented a hospital-wide process to ensure timely assessment of distress for those with an active cancer diagnosis. The information gained from the assessment is used by clinicians, social workers, case managers, and chaplains to address the psychosocial needs of the patient. This process leveraged the electronic medical record system to identify cancer patients, prompt the nurses to measure distress, and automatically generated referrals for support as needed.
CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial’s distress assessment process was recognized at the Texas Hospital Association 2016 Annual Conference and Expo on January 21 and 22 as a Best Practice. Authors of the protocol, which was implemented last summer, include Brenda Taylor, RN, BSN, Director of Kurth Three Renal/Oncology Unit; Michael Plankers, RN, MSN, Chief Nursing Officer; Tanya Spivey, Clinical Informatics Analyst; and Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR, Radiation Oncologist, Cancer Committee Chair.
“By addressing our patients’ psychosocial issues regarding a cancer diagnosis, we are able to care for the whole person, not just treat the cancer,” said Temple Cancer Center Medical Director Dr. Sid Roberts.
Patients are asked to rate their level of distress on a scale on 0-10, with 0 being no distress and 10 being extreme distress. Charting a level 4-10 generates a consult for case management for further intervention. All patients with an active cancer diagnosis, regardless of distress level, receive resource material in a number of categories, including difficulty with insurance or payment of medical needs and/or prescriptions; difficulty with finances; difficulty with transportation; difficulty with lodging; difficulty with caregiver issues; and difficulty with depression or sadness. If any spiritual concerns are noted, a consult for the chaplain is automatically generated.
“This was a necessary protocol that we voluntarily implemented in order to better serve our patients,” said Brenda Taylor, Nurse Manager for the oncology and renal floor at CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Lufkin. “By understanding where our patients are on a deeper level, we can help enhance their health care outcomes.”
Cutline: Authors of the psychosocial cancer patient assessment, which was implemented at CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial in 2015, were recognized by the Texas Hospital Association at its annual conference and expo on January 21 and 22. From left to right, Sid Roberts, MD, FACR, Temple Cancer Center Medical Director; Brenda Taylor, RN, BSN, Director of Kurth Three Renal/Oncology Unit; Tanya Spivey, Clinical Informatics Analyst; and Ginger Strange, Certified Tumor Registrar.
About CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial
Memorial provides more than a quarter of a million patient services each year and has a longstanding history of providing quality, innovative health care in East Texas.
With hospitals in Lufkin, Livingston, San Augustine and Memorial Specialty – the area’s only long-term acute care hospital – CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial provides millions of dollars in charity care and community support each year. Our mission is to nurture the healing ministry of the Church, supported by education and research. Fidelity to the Gospel urges us to emphasize human dignity and social justice as we create healthier communities.
Memorial offers a wide array of services, including the area’s first dedicated heart and stroke care facility and radiation oncology at the Temple Cancer Center. It is also known for the area’s only comprehensive diabetes, heart and stroke education center. Other specialty areas include imaging, orthopedic care, women’s services, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, homecare, wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, kidney & diabetes treatment, sleep disorders treatment and express lab.
About Catholic Health Initiatives
Catholic Health Initiatives, a nonprofit, faith-based health system formed in 1996 through the consolidation of four Catholic health systems, expresses its mission each day by creating and nurturing healthy communities in the hundreds of sites across the nation where it provides care. One of the nation’s largest health systems, Englewood, Colo.-based CHI operates in 19 states and comprises 105 hospitals, including four academic health centers and major teaching hospitals and 30 critical-access facilities; community health-services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home-health agencies; and other facilities that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care.
In fiscal year 2014, CHI provided $910 million in charity care and community benefit – a nearly 20% increase over the previous year – for programs and services for the poor, free clinics, education and research. Charity care and community benefit totaled more than $1.7 billion with the inclusion of the unpaid costs of Medicare. The health system, which generated revenues of almost $13.9 billion in fiscal year 2014, has total assets of $21.8 billion. Learn more at www.catholichealthinitiatives.com.