Jeffrey Means
Position Associate professor and chair - Behavioral Medicine, Medical Humanities and Bioethics
Phone515-271-1635
Emailjeffrey.means@dmu.edu
EducationPh.D., Northwestern University
M.Div., Christian Theological Seminary
M.S., Purdue University
B.S., Purdue University
CertificationsLicensed Clinical Psychologist – Iowa
Diplomate – American Association of Pastoral Counselors
Clinical Member – American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Research

Spiritual and Relational Quality of Life through End-of-Life Care

Quality of care through end-of-life varies greatly across health care settings. Funded by Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, this collaborative study utilized the experiences of direct care workers, supervisors/administrators, family members and spiritual care providers to evaluate existing practices and policies and pilot educational resources designed to improve quality and continuity of care through the end-of-life.

Focus groups and interviews identified key elements of spiritual and relational care through end-of-life. Pilot educational workshops with direct care workers and lay spiritual caregivers were conducted and evaluated. Needs identified across disciplinary groups and systemic problem areas included: practical education about the physical stages of dying and spiritual dimensions of end-of-life, providers skilled in recognizing and discussing spiritual/religious concerns, part-time staffing practices that hinder communication among care providers and those they treat, and overly restrictive interpretations of HIPPA that disrupt the relational support networks critical to quality care.

Collaborators included: Di Findley, B.S., Executive Director, Iowa CareGivers Association: Norma Hirsch, M.D., Chief Medical Director/Vice President, HCI Care Services (formerly Hospice of Central Iowa); Sarai Schnucker Rice, M.Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Area Religious Council; Linda Simonton, M.S.W., Consultant; Lin Salasberry, CNA, Iowa CareGivers Association; and Simon Geletta, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Health Sciences, Des Moines University.

2011 research

Focus groups and interviews with care providers and families and friends of former hospice patients identified key elements of spiritual and relational care through end-of-life. Pilot educational workshops with direct care workers and lay spiritual caregivers were conducted and evaluated. Needs identified across disciplinary groups and systemic problem areas included: practical education about the physical stages of dying and spiritual dimensions of end-of-life, providers skilled in recognizing and discussing spiritual/religious concerns, part-time staffing practices that hinder communication among care providers and those they treat, and overly restrictive interpretations of HIPPA that disrupt the relational support networks critical to quality care.

2010 research

Funded by Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, this collaborative study with Hospice of Central Iowa and the Iowa CareGivers Association seeks to identify key elements of quality spiritual and relational care through end-of-life for patients and families and obstacles to their implementation, and pilots educational resources that address the concerns identified.

2009 research

Quality of care through end-of-life varies greatly across health care settings. Funded by Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, this collaborative study utilizes the experiences of direct care workers, supervisors/administrators, family members and spiritual care providers to evaluate existing practices and policies and pilot educational resources designed to improve continuity of care through end-of-life.

Publications

Means, J. Jeffrey. “Mighty Prophet/ Wounded Healer.” The Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling, 56 (Spring 2002), pp. 41-49. , 2002

Means, J. Jeffrey. “Looking More Deeply at ‘Evil.’” A letter to the editor. American Journal of Pastoral Counseling. Vol. 4 (4), 2001, pp. 85-86. , 2001

Means, J. Jeffrey with contributions by Mary Ann Nelson. Trauma & Evil: Healing the Wounded Soul. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000