What is the Role of a Hospice Chaplain?
“Spirituality is a dynamic and intrinsic aspect of humanity through which persons seek ultimate meaning, purpose, and transcendence, and experience relationship to self, family, others, community, society, nature, and the significant or sacred. Spirituality is expressed through beliefs, values, traditions, and practices.”
Who We Are
We are highly trained hospice spiritual counselors, rooted in our own individual traditions, dedicated to providing nondenominational services to patients and families according their spiritual/religious needs. We are skilled in providing compassionate spiritual guidance through this challenging, yet deeply meaningful, life affirming process. Our hope is that you and your loved one will come to a place of peace and love, and that our hospice chaplain services will help you in creating the kind of memorable experience that will fill your hearts for the rest of your lives.
Role of the Chaplain
Hospice care at the end-of-life is a holistic model of care, meaning that we address the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient and family. While chaplain patient care, understandably, focuses on the spiritual needs of the patient, we consider the spiritual care needs of the family equally important. As spiritual counselors, we help the family understand what their loved one is experiencing and communicating, assist with feelings of grief, and provide emotional/spiritual support to help both the dying person and their loved ones cope with the “unknown” territory of the dying process. When life-threatening illness strikes, it affects each person in his or her totality (the patient and family). This totality includes not simply the biological, psychological, and social aspects of a person, but spiritual aspects as well.
Our role as hospice chaplains/spiritual counselors is to accompany patients and families on their inner journey, assist them to process distress based on their personal sense of spirituality, help them find meaning in their lives, and make spiritual choices that are important to them. We meet people wherever they are, without judgement, and help them to make their own spiritual decisions, allowing them to process their journey in their own way, and in their own time. These decisions may also involve contacting their priest, rabbi, pastor, minister, etc. for visitation, and additional spiritual support.There are also those who may rightfully ask, but what about my mother with dementia, who has lost her ability to communicate? As chaplains, we have learned through our many years of experience in working with this population that while their ability to express their needs may be limited, they communicate in profound nonverbal ways, and find connection by familiar rituals, prayer, loving touch, and music.