The basic role of the chaplain is to be involved with others in the provision of holistic care within the hospital community.
'Holistic care' is concerned with the whole person and includes not only a person’s physical health, but also their social, emotional and spiritual health and well-being.
Chaplains are pastoral practitioners who seek to build a relationship of trust through compassionate presence and thereby offer help and support to a wide range of people. Such support might, for example, focus on the emotional or spiritual adjustment to illness or on the search for meaning and purpose through difficult times. Help in crisis situations, including family/relational issues as well as bereavement care, are regular areas of chaplaincy involvement.
The chaplain's specialty is to possess a particular understanding of the relation between faith, illness, and the emotional and mental conflicts that might arise. A chaplain seeks to motivate and initiate meaningful use of each individual's beliefs and attitudes in the management of their difficulties.
Chaplains work alongside other health care professionals to provide psycho-social-spiritual services for patients and their families. Chaplains receive regular patient referrals from our staff and contribute to patients overall care through regular involvement and liaison with members of multi-disciplinary teams.
The chaplain's ministry to the patients is a prime responsibility but often chaplains will also come into contact with the patient's family and be able to respond to their needs as required.
Coming into hospital is often an anxious time for both patients and their families. Chaplains are available and happy to meet and spend time with anyone who needs a ‘listening ear’ or to talk things through, wherever they are coming from.
If someone’s spirituality is expressed through a particular faith or set of rituals, they are also happy to provide the opportunity for individual prayer and communion for patients at their bedside or to arrange for representatives of other faith communities to visit as appropriate. We provide pastoral support for patients and families:
- Spiritual journeying and accompaniment
- Specific religious acts, for example prayer, anointing, etc