Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When patients wish for a miracle, tool helps medical staff say 'amen'

Date:
June 16, 2014
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Summary:
Cancer clinicians and a chaplain have developed a new tool to help doctors, nurses and other health-care providers talk to dying patients and families who are, literally, praying for a miracle. The AMEN protocol offers a way to negotiate these challenging conversations to affirm or acknowledge a patient's hope, share the patient's wish with others, continue to educate the patient and family about medical issues, and assure them that their health care team will remain with them throughout the duration of their care, "no matter what."

Cancer clinicians and a chaplain at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a new tool to help doctors, nurses and other health care providers talk to dying patients and families who are, literally, praying for a miracle.

Related Articles


The AMEN (Affirm, Meet, Educate, No matter what) protocol, a script that can be used by medical staff, offers a way to negotiate these challenging conversations to affirm or acknowledge a patient's hope, share the patient's wish with others, continue to educate the patient and family about medical issues, and assure them that their health care team will remain with them throughout the duration of their care, "no matter what."

"The AMEN tool allows the provider to join the patient or family member as a fellow human being with hopes and aspirations, and fosters a sense of trust and commitment to care," said Rhonda S. Cooper, M. Div., B.C.C., the Cancer Center's chaplain.

In lectures at Johns Hopkins, she says, the tool has been presented to clinical staff as a way "to respect our patients' beliefs and values as we care for them to the best of our ability." Cooper and her colleagues described the conversational protocol online in the May 6 issue of the Journal of Oncology Practice.

According to Cooper, patients and their families often turn to the idea of a miracle during a serious illness or trauma. In a study cited by the researchers and conducted by the University of Connecticut and Georgetown University, 57 percent of adults randomly surveyed said they believed that "God's intervention could save a family member" even when physicians said that any further treatments would be futile.

Doctors and nurses may feel uncomfortable discussing miracles as a religious event, or feel that they do not have the training or time to talk about miracles, Cooper says, but adds it is important not to dismiss the idea when patients or family bring it up.

"If the provider makes a comment that sounds dismissive of God or the person's faith or beliefs, that definitely will affect the trust relationship," she says. "The goal of the conversation between provider and the patient or family is to stay connected, not debate the possibility of miracles happening or not happening."

The AMEN tool, which specifically consists of a recommended script for talking with patients, can help medical experts see the hope for a miracle as an opportunity to join the patient or family in their end-of-life conversation, Cooper says. The goal is to maintain trust and foster open and honest communication as the care plan is being discussed. The tool can remind providers to "ask, rather than assume, what patients in treatment are hoping for," said Anna Ferguson, RN, a collaborator on the protocol.

The "no matter what" aspect can be especially important for patients transitioning from aggressive to palliative care, Cooper noted. "We all believe that 'non-abandonment' or accompanying the patient or family 'every step of the way' regardless of treatment outcome is what we can assure everyone who steps through our doors."

"We do not expect providers to become theologians or 'miracle experts,'" she stressed, "but instead to maintain the connection and respond to the patient's invitation to journey with them through their experience."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rhonda S. Cooper et al. AMEN in Challenging Conversations: Bridging the Gaps Between Faith, Hope, and Medicine. Journal of Oncology Practice, June 2014 DOI: 10.1200/JOP.2014.001375

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. "When patients wish for a miracle, tool helps medical staff say 'amen'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616204522.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2014, June 16). When patients wish for a miracle, tool helps medical staff say 'amen'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616204522.htm
Johns Hopkins Medicine. "When patients wish for a miracle, tool helps medical staff say 'amen'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616204522.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins