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Nieuwsma JA, King HA, Jackson GL, Bidassie B, Wright LW, Cantrell WC, Bates MJ, Rhodes JE, White BS, Gatewood SJL, Meador KG. Implementing Integrated Mental Health and Chaplain Care in a National Quality Improvement Initiative. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2017 Dec 1; 68(12):1213-1215.
This column describes the development, implementation, and outcomes of a quality improvement learning collaborative that aimed to better integrate chaplaincy with mental health care services at 14 participating health care facilities evenly distributed across the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense. Teams of health care chaplains and mental health professionals from participating sites sought to improve cross-disciplinary service integration in six key domains: screening, referrals, assessment, communication and documentation, cross-disciplinary training, and role clarification. Chaplains and mental health providers across all facilities at participating sites were significantly more likely post-collaboration to report having a clear understanding of how to collaborate and to report using a routine process for screening patients who could benefit from seeing a professional from the other discipline. Foundational efforts to enhance cross-disciplinary awareness and screening practices between chaplains and mental health professionals appear particularly promising.