Operational Excellence

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-12-2019


Operational Excellence

MeSH Headings

trauma center, spiritual care, emotional distress, chaplains, ED patients, goal, root cause analysis, consult


In trauma centers, there is evidence that interfaith spiritual care reduces emotional distress and improves health outcomes. In order to be effective in providing timely support, chaplains must be integrated into the clinical care team.

In an academic tertiary medical care center, a spiritual care team felt there were numerous missed opportunities to offer support to ED patients and its staff due to lack of being part of the care team. As a result, a performance improvement project was developed with the overall goal of integrating spiritual care into the ED clinical setting.

Baseline metrics and a root cause analysis demonstrated numerous reasons for the low utilization of their services in the ED. Several countermeasures were established to increase chaplain visibility and the understanding of the services they could provide.

Outcome statistics for a 12 month period validated significant increases in ED consult rates as well as the total time spent in support to ED staff and patients. Staff feedback supported the benefits of ED spiritual care presence.

Some next steps include expanding the push versus pull model of spiritual services throughout the hospital as well as integration of future chaplain interns in regular ED rounding.