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New Chaplain Resource from Johns Hopkins

by Thomas Y. (Ty) Crowe, II MDiv BCC and
Rev. Dr. Paula Teague DMin MBA BCC and
Ms. Elizabeth Tracey MS

APC Forum, January 2021, Vol. 23 No. 1


TIMS: This is My Story
This Is My Story (TIMS) is an audio narrative provided by the designated care partner/family member to the medical team in order for the providers to know the patient.  The objective of TIMS is to humanize care by focusing on the patient and family centered narrative, thus striving to assess and be considerate of human sentiments, feelings, values, and beliefs of the patient. This intervention was developed by the Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy department of Johns Hopkins Health System in response to the limited visitation possible during the COVID pandemic.  Because a patient has no advocate present, the audio recordings help medical teams bridge the gaps between family and the care providers. There are many benefits to providing the audio recording.  It provides advocacy for patients by their loved one, humanizes the patient for the care providers thus reducing their stress and provides the chaplain team with an opportunity to support families. The TIMS project also provides an anecdote to unconscious bias.  When a team doesn’t know the patient, it is more likely to make stereotypical assumptions based on race, age, culture, etc.  The emerging challenges of providing care to diverse population mandates that medical teams sensitively evaluate the socio-economic, political, and religio-cultural challenges of ethnic minorities.
Here is a video describing the intervention:
The recording of a loved one or family member talking about the patient is undertaken by a chaplain, who also provides spiritual and emotional support during the encounter. The audio file is edited by medical students and other volunteers to a final length of about 2 minutes. Depending on the interview, loved ones also may provide a file talking directly to the patient, which helps orient the patient as sedation is lightened and has also been used at the end of life. There are plans to expand TIMS to include all hospitalized patients with communications needs and to study impact of the audio recordings for patients, families, and care providers.  TIMS provides an innovative platform for chaplains to effectively minister to the patient, families, and clinical team.

As the flow diagram shows, TIMS relies on many people to be successful, including providers, chaplains, volunteers, administrative personnel on the unit, and nurses. Everyone concerned benefits. Providers and nurses report a greater sense of connection with their patient and family.  Chaplains are able to provide emotional and spiritual support to both patient and loved one.   Volunteers who provide editing, many of whom are medical students or intending to go to medical school, gain early exposure to a more holistic view of patients as people. These medical students report learning about how to focus on the “heart of the matter” when listening to families or patients share their stories.  Family members also report more personal interactions with providers who’ve listened to their audio recording.
Our expansion and study of TIMS will quantitatively assess the impact of listening to the audio for providers and nurses, and qualitatively assess impact for patients and family members.
Starting a TIMS Project
A TIMS project is an opportunity for chaplains to undertake research that clearly serves the hospitals and encourages chaplains to be the agents of change through effective communication methods and navigate with medical teams who are dealing with crisis management.
Principal Investigator:                 
Mr. Thomas Y. (Ty) Crowe, II, M.Div., B.C.C.
Director of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy
The Rev. Dr. Paula Teague, D.Min., M.B.A., B.C.C.
Senior Director of the Johns Hopkins Academic Division, Director of the System Sponsored CPE Program and Director of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Team Lead:
Ms. Elizabeth Tracey, MS
Director, Johns Hopkins Health Newsfeed
Audio Production Johns Hopkins Medicine
Chaplain, Specialized Ministries, Johns Hopkins Hospital
Department of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy

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