As many patients and families turn to religion or some form of spirituality in times of sickness or end of life, the work of a hospice chaplain can be invaluable in helping to guide them through this complex process. By relying on their vast spiritual knowledge, chaplains help patients find the rituals, prayers and spiritual coping strategies (with regard to their beliefs and customs) that can offer them peace and comfort. This allows the patient and their families to find renewed meaning in their lives and discover spiritual peace within the context of their religion, beliefs or cultural values. In this brief article, learn more about what a hospice care chaplain is, what they do, and how they can assist patients and their families throughout the hospice care process.
What Is A Hospice Care Chaplain?
While other qualified hospice care professionals may tend to the physical or psychological needs of a patient and their families, it falls on the highly empathetic and qualified chaplain to attend to a patient’s spiritual well being. Chaplains are thus another vital member of the hospice care team who plan, assess and care for a patient’s spiritually throughout their illness and end-of-life. Regardless of a patient’s religion, creed or culture, chaplains serve to provide patients with compassionate, spiritual support and counsel throughout their hospice care experience. Chaplains also offer invaluable counseling services or support services for those who do not have particular belief systems.
Hospice chaplains work to meet people where they are on their spiritual journey. This relationship can be likened to that of a coach, where chaplains work with families and hospice care patients to find their own answers and release from fears or worries regarding end of life. On any given day, chaplains may consult with patients about Do Not Resuscitate orders, address complex spiritual issues, help make funeral arrangements, discuss personal beliefs, or simply listen to patients share their stories.
What Do Hospice Care Chaplains Do For Hospice Care Patients?
The role of a chaplain is to listen to patients, counsel them (when appropriate) and make them feel safe. Moreover, chaplains will work with patients to assess their lives positively, helping them to find meaning and joy in their lives, while discussing questions, concerns and regrets. This gives patients space to dig deep into existential questions and helps them prepare for what they believe comes next.
Because all patients are different, with various religions, beliefs and customs (or none at all), chaplains are trained to respect the viewpoints and cultural traditions of a diverse mix of patients. Instead of ‘converting’ patients to a religion, chaplains instead attempt to discuss end of life (and life overall) in the context of the patient’s beliefs. This may take the form of praying with patients, discussing their contributions to their church, or simply discussing their connection to other people or the universe as a whole.
Hospice pastoral care can also be utilized by the family as well. This gives family members the opportunity to discuss the complex feelings (anger, fear, depression, etc) they may be experiencing due to their loved ones illness. It may also allow family members to make peace with their loved one, find closure, or discover meaning, all within the context of their religion, traditions or culture. Chaplains will listen openly to you or your loved ones and meet them on whatever religious or spiritual journey they are on.
How To Become A Hospice Care Chaplain
Chaplains need to be qualified is a variety of skills related to providing spiritual aid to patients and families in a hospice care setting. These include carrying out spiritual evaluations and considering physical, psychological or spiritual stressors which may contribute to a person’s spiritual well-being. Hospice care chaplains also need to be well versed in a variety of religious and spiritual philosophies and texts so that they may respond appropriately in counseling and care. There are several varying degrees that chaplains can obtain. State laws affect the requirements to participate in the discipline, as well as individual company policies.
Speak To KidsCare Of The Rockies For More Information
We hope this article has helped shed light on the indispensable role that hospice care chaplains play in the process of palliative care. Whether reading scripture, helping families overcome spiritual challenges or making small talk, chaplains play an invaluable role in providing support for patients and their families. To learn more about hospice care chaplains as part of comprehensive hospice care services, contact KidsCare Of The Rockies today for more information.