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Strengthening capacity for delivering better care

April 11, 2019
Staff of Providence St. Joseph Health interact at training session with Camden Coalition staff

Camden Coalition partners with Providence St. Joseph Health to train staff in complex care techniques

By Gayle Christiansen

Last fall, I traveled to Seattle with my colleagues Renee Murray and Jeneen Skinner to train over 60 caregivers from Providence St. Joseph Health in COACH, the Camden Coalition’s framework for building authentic healing relationships with patients and empowering them to take control of their health. The two-day training marked the beginning of our new partnership with Providence St. Joseph Health, a nonprofit health system serving low-income  and vulnerable residents in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. One of the nation’s largest healthcare providers, Providence St. Joseph Health is pivoting to delivering consumer-driven services that facilitate whole person care, including addressing the social and behavioral health needs of their patients.

In addition to teaching caregivers about the COACH model, we trained 16 supervisors in RELATE, the Coalition’s reflective method for supervising caregivers who work directly with patients with complex needs. RELATE helps managers build staff resilience so that staff can cope with the emotional impact of working with patients who have complex needs. The training helps supervisors think creatively about how to address challenges — in effect, reducing staff frustration and burnout.

“While our care managers are all well-qualified, many have said that they are less comfortable with addressing social determinants and behavioral health needs than they are with addressing medical needs,” said Bayley Raiz, Executive Director of Mental Health and Social Care Management at Providence St. Joseph Health. “This is where the COACH and RELATE models have played a pivotal role.”

Since the training began, we’ve held monthly case conference calls with Providence St. Joseph Health caregivers and regular virtual coaching sessions with their supervisors. On a recent case conference, a care manager asked Renee and Jeneen for guidance on how to help their patient stay on track with his goals. “We touched on connecting the patient’s long-term goals to daily tasks, understanding what he has found helpful in the past, and what has derailed him from meeting his goals,” said Jeneen. “We also talked about the networks and resources in his life that can help him succeed and overcome the challenges he faces, given his history of PTSD and his recent loss of a family member to the opioid crisis.”

Case conferencing calls help participants take what they learned in the training and implement those learnings into interactions with patients, said Renee. “The calls carve out a safe space for collaborative discussion and reflective processing. They highlight how COACH and RELATE come to life between the caregivers and patient, or between the caregiver and supervisor.”

She added, “By sharing patient stories in our case conferences and having regular check-ins with leadership, we’ve been able to better understand the common barriers that many patients face in healthcare and discuss how improvements can be made.”

Participant feedback in post-training surveys was overwhelmingly positive, with 88% reporting that they would recommend the COACH training to others. “Using the COACH model, our caregivers now have additional tools to better meet their patients’ needs holistically,” said Bayley. “Meanwhile, supervisors now have a way to help caregivers through difficult patient situations — stressful situations that can take a toll on caregivers. Offering both COACH and RELATE has enabled our care managers to show up each and every day and make a real difference.”

It can often be challenging to get executive buy-in for organizational culture change, but the system leaders at Providence St. Joseph Health are embracing the shift. “They are really interested in incorporating a patient-centered approach,” said Renee. “They also care deeply about building a resilient workforce who know how to problem solve and build strong relationships with their patients to address the root causes of health challenges.”

As we partner with organizations across the country that serve people with complex needs in their communities, we’re finding that vulnerable populations face strikingly similar barriers to good health, whether they’re in Spokane, Anchorage, or Camden. We look forward to working with future cohorts from Providence St. Joseph Health and sharing our models to help their staff deliver the best care possible.  


To learn more about how your organization can access coaching, expert advising, and training through the Camden Coalition, visit https://www.camdenhealth.org/technical-assistance/.

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