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Hospice Chaplains

How Hospice Chaplains Comfort the Dying

By April Smith, South Wind Hospice Marketing Director
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Hospice patients and their family members have many wonderful services available to them under the auspices of hospice care. One of these services is spiritual counseling, provided by a chaplain from the hospice’s interdisciplinary team. Hospice chaplains offer spiritual guidance and support and are committed to working with the terminally ill.

What are the Rules?

Every hospice has a chaplain who can assist with spiritual needs. Some people think they must be religious or practice within a particular denomination to request a visit with a chaplain, but that’s not true. There are no requirements. Hospice chaplains come from various religious backgrounds, but they will provide support regardless of your religious affiliation.

What are “Spiritual Services” ?

Spiritual services encompass a lot. In addition to support, guidance and counseling, they can include prayer and worship services as well as rituals and traditions that honor your faith.

Hospice chaplains counsel patients and their families with regard to spiritual concerns. Many patients who take advantage of the spiritual services provided through hospice find that the chaplain helps them gain a better perspective, alleviating some of their depression and stress. Others consider their spirituality very private and are not comfortable discussing such matters with loved ones. In these instances, a chaplain can provide an outlet for needed conversation about end-of-life concerns.

What Should I Expect When I Request Spiritual Guidance?

Hospice chaplains visit patients in their home when a visit has been requested. Some patients may need to ask for forgiveness while others question God’s reasoning for their illness, and so on. This is when a chaplain can help most. Hospice chaplains are experienced to deal with these types of situations and can provide relief to the patient and family members who are struggling to cope with the terminal diagnosis.

One thing patients should always expect with hospice, regardless of their spiritual choices, is that they maintain control over their own care. A hospice chaplain should never pressure patients into medical care that they do not want. No matter what their personal religious beliefs, hospice chaplains are trained to respect patients’ personal values and wishes.

Are Chaplain Visits Required in Hospice Care?

Patients aren’t required to see a chaplain. Engaging spiritual services is optional. It is a personal choice, and patients can change their mind at any time. Many patients decide against it initially, and later realize it’s something they could benefit from and choose to take advantage the service.

Will the Chaplain Replace my Minister or Pastor?

Hospice chaplains don’t take the place of the patient’s minister or pastor of their church. The patient can choose to seek guidance from their own spiritual counselor, the hospice chaplain, or both. The chaplain will work alongside any church leader to ensure the patient receives all the support they need.

Spreading the Word—

April Smith