Chaplains care for and support people of all faiths and nonreligious people as well. Many people who enter the hospital setting may be anxious about tests, treatment, surgery or their loved one. Their spirituality, which gives them meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace, may come into question during a time of uncertainty or suffering. Through compassionate listening a chaplain can recognize and identify elements of a patient’s spiritual struggle, enhancing the healing process and promoting holistic well-being.
For more information about Spiritual Services please call 765-453-8487.
Research demonstrating efficacy of chaplaincy services
More than 700 studies up to the year 2000 examined the relationship between religion, well-being and mental health. “Not only were religious beliefs and practices associated with significantly less depression and faster recovery from depression, lower suicide rates, less anxiety, and less substance abuse, they were also associated with greater well-being, hope, and optimism, more purpose and meaning in life, greater marital satisfaction and stability and higher social support.”1
1Koenig, Harold G., MD. “Religion, Spirituality and Medicine: Research Findings and Implications for Clinical Practice,” Southern Medical Association, 2004.
Role of chaplains
Community Howard chaplains play many roles in the healthcare environment, including:
- Visit patients within twenty-four hours of admission to assess their spiritual and emotional needs.
- Respond to pages from staff within five minutes and arrive on the unit within twenty minutes.
- Identify, assess and integrate patients’ cultural, spiritual and religious beliefs in the development of a plan of care and in decisions that are made concerning end-of-life care.
- Provide for religious and cultural needs: prayer, contact with a faith community if requested, Muslim prayer rug, provide copies of sacred text, work with dietitian regarding kosher foods, specific end-of-life needs, etc.
- Respond to rapid response codes to provide emotional and spiritual support for family members witnessing the trauma of resuscitation and for staff to explore their experience in recovery(or loss) of the patient.
- Facilitate stress management through meditation.
- Facilitate weekly "Spirituality & Hope" groups for inpatient behavioral health unit and outpatient behavioral health clients at the downtown location and The Pillars apartments.
- Facilitate a “Coping Through Faith” cancer support group.
- Facilitate advance directives, talking with patients and families regarding end–of-life wishes.
- Interview families, nurses and physicians when ethics consult is requested; serve on the Ethics Committee in quarterly meetings.
- Facilitate holiday services including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Ash Wednesday and Easter.
- Offer critical incident intervention as part of Community Health Network’s RISE Team.
- Blessing of hands for employees.
As part of the Spiritual Services department's commitment to your well-being, a space in the south lobby of the main hospital has been designated a sanctuary for all to visit for times of quiet and prayer.
Clinical Pastoral Education program
Community Howard Regional Health offers interfaith, professional education and training to persons seeking certification as professional chaplains, seminary students, area ministers and qualified laypersons. Students provide spiritual care to patients, families and staff, under the supervision of the CPE supervisor, participate in seminars, review case studies and other appropriate readings, and write papers and other reports related to the CPE experience. Learn more and apply for CPE programs >>