The hospital bed can be one of the loneliest places in the world. Medical staff are often over worked and family may be unavailable to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of a patient in crisis. Even in medical institutions outside of the hospital, you will find people in need of guidance and the listening ear that a chaplain can provide. They are there to give vital care in some of life’s most critical circumstances
Chaplains are uniquely equipped to support the patient’s belief systems regardless of their faith or culture. When big questions come up such as, why did this happen to me? Or where is God in this chaos, doesn’t God care? Chaplains are available to offer spiritual guidance. They know how to navigate through the healthcare experience and act as knowledgeable guides insuring the needs of the patient and their families are met.
As a retired nurse with experience in ICU, Open Heart, Step down Units, Med-Surg., Renal Dialysis, Home Health, nursing homes; as well as developing and training a Pastoral Care Team in a local church, I have had the unique opportunity to view spiritual caregiving from both sides of the fence. I understand the medical team and nursing staff and I see the patient from their perspective. As the former Director of Pastoral Care Ministry in a local church, I also understand the unique role a pastoral care provider can play on the medical team.
Chaplains and Spiritual Care Givers help bridge the gap between the patient, family, and the medical personnel making holistic patient care not only possible, but a reality. Whole patient care or holistic care, consists of providing for the needs of the entire person; spirit, soul, and body. The goal of Healthcare Chaplaincy is to help you, the reader, gain greater insight into the role of a spiritual care giver or chaplain. Specifically, we will focus on providing care within the healthcare system. Hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers, and hospice, are just a few of the locations where healthcare chaplains are called upon to minister to those in need.
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12