Friday, May 20, 2011

Creating Coherent Caring Environments

The focus of the first HeartMath Best Practices Conference is how to create the kind of healthcare environment that transforms lives of caregivers and patients alike.

Robert Browning is the director of project development for HeartMath. He led us through an exercise around caring with another person that can be used in any setting, but particularly in patient care.

This is another example of how this is a different kind of conference. We are not only hearing presentations and getting great ideas, we are also experiencing and participating. Conference attendees have the option of starting the day with "Morning Renewal: Running with Qi." The setting for this conference also lends itself to renewal and greater coherence. The beauty of the California coastline is remarkable. In some ways, this is as much a retreat as a conference.

Healthcare organizations of all sizes are using HeartMath. Yesterday, I wrote about the Mayo Clinic and HeartMath. Like Mayo, Kaiser Permanente is widely recognized around the country as one of the leaders in patient care quality and experience. Anne Foss-Durant is a director of caring services integration for Kaiser and shared her work while she was the Chief Nursing Officer for Kaiser in Antioch, CA. Many healthcare organizations are adopting Jean Watson's work on caring theory and integrating it with HeartMath. The results of this approach from Antioch were remarkable. In the last two JCAHO inspections, there were zero deficiencies listed. In fact, when the inspection team arrived, Kaiser staff invited the team to join them in a Heart Lock-In to start the survey process. Now that is coherence in action!

Another highlight of Anne's presentation was her statement that the level of trust between nursing and administration improved because caring sciences and HeartMath fostered the practice of staff truly caring for themselves which in turn nurtured caring for the patient. Anne remarked that it really put joy into patient care.

Eric Faller, Jeremy Hagar, and Toni Carreon represented Kaiser Permanente in Fresno, CA. Because of the success that Anne and her team had with HeartMath at Kaiser in Antioch, the administration decided to expand HeartMath and caring sciences to all of their regional hospitals. These representatives provided several stories of innovation and engagement by their teams. Ultimately, they said the benchmarking data for patient quality became a byproduct of genuine care for patients.

Chesapeake Regional Medical Center did a great job providing tips on how healthcare facilities can utilize several standard training programs in a consolidated approach. For example, they merged HeartMath with Jean Watson's Caritas program that best serves their organization. Again, creating a better environment for staff facilitates better care for patients from clinical staff.

There are so many models for excellent patient care that tie in beautifully with HeartMath. Another approach was presented by Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. Memorial began integrating HeartMath into their leadership development program in the mid-1990's. George Soper, Barbara Walsh, and Deborah Drendall explained how the fundamental HeartMath concept of coherence was really the foundation for effective performance. It was an impressive presentation of how they used Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Successful People as the framework for their leadership development along with HeartMath. It all fit together with assessments, teamwork, discipline, and accountability as a most effective process.

Two teaching hospitals, University of Oklahoma College of Nursing and Indiana University Health of Bloomington presented incredible information on how they have used HeartMath.

At the University of Oklahoma, HeartMath has helped to create high level performance and cultural empathy from the student to the expert. They outlined a way to create an environment that looks at traditional native healing, holistic healing, and energy work.

Indiana University Health of Bloomington presented on how to integrate the HeartMath program into relationship-based care as the core of self-care, patient care applications, and pain management. IUH outlined ways to create a culture that keeps HeartMath tools and techniques in front of every employee. They also reported on ways they use HeartMath with occupational health and employee wellness to help lower costs and reduce insurance claims.

The conference concluded with roundtable discussions, dinner, and a bonfire on the beach....a perfect close to a wonderful day of learning, sharing, caring, and interacting.

A different kind of conference

As noted in my previous post, I am blogging this week from the HeartMath Best Practices Conference and it is a wonderful experience.

Mayo Clinic Arizona staff, Susan Launder, Barbra Hudak, and Lynne Hulvey shared how they have transformed the culture in their nursing unit by infusing HeartMath into the daily activities of their team. Susan is the team leader and she says, "When the staff is happy...everyone's happy and HeartMath bring happiness!"

Lynne is a SWAT nurse. This means that she is a critical care nurse who is available to respond quickly when a patient's medical condition rapidly deteriorates or when the nursing workload is becoming overwhelming. Barbra is the house supervisor. Those of us who participated in their presentations could not help but be impressed by the passion these nurses have for their teams and in turn the care they provide to their patients. Their presentation focused on how other hospitals can work to expand HeartMath to transform the culture of their entire hospital. In their case, they reported to the Mayo Board of Governors their experiences with HeartMath on their unit and how they felt HeartMath would be beneficial to the entire Mayo Clinic Arizona system.

The data they provided was striking. Since initiating HeartMath, error rates on their unit improved. Better communication, clearer critical thinking, and improved working relationships all contributed to overall improvement. As a result, the Board of Governors agreed and HeartMath was expanded throughout the Mayo Clinic Arizona System.

Personally, I know HeartMath changes lives. I've seen this many times in my own experiences. I think it is very powerful to also see the data that HeartMath also saves lives through improved patient safety.

As we finished the day, we were encouraged to consider what we appreciated most from the day... Appreciation is a big part of HeartMath...I found several things to appreciate.

  • Lots of great ideas from very inspired leaders.

  • Genuine compassion, caring, and passion.

  • Profound organizational commitment.

  • Stories that spread positive, good news to others.

  • The connection between Qigong and HeartMath - to move and breathe with life

  • Evidenced-based science adds creditability and opportunity for improved patient care.

  • HeartMath changes and saves lives.

This is a different kind of conference...the pace is deliberate, content-focused, and thoughtful. I can hardly wait to see what's next.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I am so excited to be blogging from the HeartMath Best Practices Conference: Creating Coherent Caring Environments.

I have to admit, I’m a little travel weary. I actually flew from New York City this morning on a 6 a.m. flight, but the beautiful location here at the Seascape Beach Resort in Santa Cruz, California is reviving me. And, I got in on the last two presentations for the morning.

The conference is off to a great start. HeartMath CEO Bruce Cryer welcomed us to this first-ever best practices conference. Presenters from Fairfield Medical Center of Lancaster, Ohio, and Scottsdale Healthcare in Scottsdale, Arizona followed Bruce and they were great.

I first met presenter Cynthia Pearsall, chief nursing office from Fairfield Medical Center, when my team and I went through our first training session several years ago. It was really fun to see her again today and hear about their journey at Fairfield with HeartMath. Their presentation was all about integrating HeartMath into a hospital culture and it was inspirational to hear about all the lives that are being touched by HeartMath.

The Fairfield team followed their presentation with a wonderful video featuring seven staffers sharing their personal stories with HeartMath. One woman shared how it helps her and her husband deal with the hectic life of parents of six children. Another employee shared how HeartMath changed her life after a horrible traffic accident that she lived through as a teenager. The accident created lifelong anxiety whenever driving and now through the use of HeartMath, she is no longer paralyzed with fear. Cynthia shared how she uses Heart Lock-ins to solve difficult problems during meetings. Yet another woman told the touching story of how HeartMath transformed a very stressful bath time routine with her son into a loving and special bonding time. HeartMath helped another staff member though a difficult time dealing with several family member's significant illnesses. The video ended with the CEO and executive assistant sharing about the transformed executive suite after HeartMath came into their lives. We will have to talk them into putting their video on YouTube. It was awesome!

Marielena Murphy and Linda Larkey from Scottsdale Healthcare gave a presentation about how research in nursing practice at their institution is helping to expand HeartMath usage among the care team. One of the projects they highlighted focused specifically in the surgical services department. Early indications of the project indicate there is likely a correlation between the practice of HeartMath and the reduction of adverse events. More research is necessary to find correlations with HeartMath and patient satisfaction, turnover, and employee satisfaction.

The second half of their presentation focused on how HeartMath coherence correlates with the meditative movement practice with breast cancer survivors. Watch for a journal article out soon indicating the very positive impact of both HeartMath and Qigong have on patients with persistent fatigue after treatment.

Lunch time and then an afternoon full of more stimulating presentations from the Mayo folks...There’s more to come from Santa Cruz!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Champions of Care - National Hospital Week

Champion: A valiant fighter. A person who fights for another or for a cause. A defender, protector, or supporter. A winner of first place; excelling over all others.

Care: To feel concern or interest. To feel love or liking. Charge, protection, custody.

These are definitions from Mr. Webster's dictionary. If you looked in Mr. Linden's dictionary, you will find four words, "Grinnell Regional Medical Center." I am very proud to work with men and women who live these words every day.

In a small community like ours, it is very common to know our patients as friends, family members, and neighbors. This is true whether they come to us from Montezuma, Iowa or Montana; Brooklyn, Iowa or Brooklyn, New York. Our location on I-80 brings many travelers to our doors. Students from Grinnell College come from across the country and around the world. It's true that people from all walks of life come into this hospital seeking medical help. GRMC staff provide remarkable care for everyone as neighbors and friends.

This is National Hospital Week. It is a time to celebrate and honor the important role hospitals play in their communities. This year's theme is, "Champions of Care."GRMC employees give all they have to be a champion for those we are privileged to serve. Over and over, the quality of healthcare provided at GRMC is recognized as some of the best anywhere.

Please join us Saturday, May 14, from 7 to 10 a.m. for a community breakfast in the GRMC cafeteria to help us celebrate National Hospital Week. We'll be serving made-to-order omelets with help from our friends at the Iowa Egg Council. There will also be educational exhibits of some of the services provided through GRMC. We hope you will stop by the hospital on Saturday morning and let us make you breakfast.