Pastoral Hospice Care

Chaplain and Pastoral Hospice Care: For Believers and Non-Believers

Hospice chaplains provide a variety of interventions, including pastoral counseling, spiritual assessments, and overall guidance as patients and families deal with the spiritual dynamics of illness, loss, and death.

The chaplain works closely with other members of the hospice team: physician, nurse, aide, social workers, bereavement specialist, and volunteer. Their role is to address the psychosocial and spiritual issues that are intimately linked to a life-limiting diagnosis.

When a patient or family has no religious affiliation or preference, hospice chaplains are trained to work with people of all cultures, beliefs, traditions, and religious orientations. If a family requests spiritual help from a pastoral representative of a different faith than his/her own, for example, the hospice chaplain will make available the services of a priest, rabbi, minister, or another faith leader.

Hospice chaplains make themselves available to patients and families no matter what scenario.  They will listen, talk, hold hands, share stories, ask questions, and reassure and comfort. Our chaplains can pray and or read inspirational materials to patients and families. They provide guidance when needed and or requested. They may serve as sounding board for questions, concerns, and fears that might arise at the end of life.

Hospice chaplains also become involved in some of the decisions that arise throughout the dying process. They may provide opinions to help make decisions regarding the Do Not Resuscitate orders and funeral arrangements. When requested they can help patients and families choose the readings or songs for memorial services. They serve as a sounding board for spouses, partners and family members who struggle with “anticipatory grief,” the impending sense of loss that can arise even before a loved one dies.

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