Dispensing Emergency Spiritual Care

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    “One department at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center stands out for its unique emergency supplies: Muslim prayer rugs, recordings of Buddhist monks chanting, Christian Bibles and Jewish prayer shawls.”

    “For patients struck by a serious illness or a deadly diagnosis, those supplies are just one way the Spiritual Care Department helps patients cope with a crisis. The chaplains offer company, spiritual guidance and religious materials to patients of every stripe, from the deeply observant to atheists in need of support, said the Rev. Sandra Yarlott, director of the Spiritual Care Department at the hospital.”

    This department tries to meet the diverse spiritual needs of patients and their families, and even the doctors and nurses on staff. Even non-religious patients will often request a chaplain.

    "Questions that are secondary when we are healthy become very pressing when we are sick or dying, like 'What happens when I die?’”

    The chaplains work with the staff as well, often after they lose a patient. They are there to offer encouragement and grief support.

    "The focus comes back to who you are, and how to keep your own wounds, assumptions and attitudes from getting in the way of patients' healing." "The chaplain are “trained not to over-guide, under-guide or intrude on patients. It's really an art."

    Would something like this work at your place of employment? Would you refer your patients and their families for this type of care, or would you use it for your personal needs?

    Dispensing emergency spiritual care / UCLA Today
    Last edit by Joe V on Aug 19, '12
    rashana, Doc Lori, R.N., Davey Do, and 3 others like this.

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    About tnbutterfly, BSN, RN

    tnbutterfly has 'More than 35 years' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Parish Nsg, Disaster Nsg, Peds, Med-Surg'. From 'TN'; Joined Jun '06; Posts: 22,222; Likes: 12,842.

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    4 Comments so far...

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    I'd be honored to be associated with an institution which recognizes the spiritual aspect of a human in addition to the human aspect of the spiritual being.
    noreenl and tnbutterfly like this.
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    "Would something like this work at your place of employment? Would you refer your patients and their families for this type of care, or would you use it for your personal needs?"

    I'm not sure if the OP is suggesting that this is a unique program?? I've worked at quite a few medical centers over the years that had excellent chaplaincy programs, and I have frequently offered their services to clients and their families. (In fact, I worked a number of years ago on the psych consultation-liaison team in a large, urban teaching hospital where the nursing staff would often request a psych consult for someone and, when I turned up to do the consult, it would often quickly become apparent that the issue(s) were spiritual rather than psychological. I would ask people if they'd like to speak with a chaplain and make the call if they said yes, and give the nursing staff yet another pep talk about taking advantage of the great service that the chaplains there provided ... ) I don't see anything remarkable or unusual about the program described, except that I don't know for a fact whether or not the chaplaincy programs I'm familiar with had prayer rugs or recordings of Buddhist chants on hand. But they did do an excellent job of providing support and care to people of any and every faith, including no faith.

    I would agree with the comment that hospital chaplaincy is "really an art." It's v. different from pastoring a congregation of a particular denomination/faith. The really good hospital chaplains I've known have completed the CPE (clinical pastoral education) training and internship. Of course, a lot of smaller hospitals can't afford much of a department and depend on local clergy volunteering or working part-time.
    tnbutterfly likes this.
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    I am not suggesting this is a unique program, but merely sharing an article I found regarding the importance of spiritual care in the role of caring for the whole patient.....body, mind, and soul. This particular hospital has a spiritual care department which offers one of the top training programs for chaplains in the country, and one of the most diverse.

    As a parish nurse and part of the spiritual care department, I am keenly aware of the need for spiritual care. I have had CPE training. But as you say, not all hospitals have chaplains nor do they provide adequate spiritual care. I feel fortunate to work for a health system that sees spiritual care as a priority, employing more than 30 parish nurses as well as chaplains.

    Elkpark, I am glad that you have been able to refer patients for spiritual care. That part of care sometimes goes unaddressed.
  7. 0
    Moved to Nursing and Spirituality.

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