Our Services

Pastoral Care

Description of Services

The Pastoral Care Department ministers to the spiritual and religious life of patients, families and staff. Chaplains have specialized clinical training and experience in providing pastoral care in a hospital setting. Regardless of a family’s religious preference, chaplains are prepared to help people draw on the resources of faith during the illness of a child. Pastoral care and support, pastoral counseling, prayer, scripture, sacraments and bereavement support are available.

A chaplain is available to patients, families, and staff on an on-call basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Evening and weekend on-call is for emergencies only. Religious services are held at select holidays, for example, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.

All full-time chaplains carry pagers while in the hospital. A chaplain is in-house from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. After 9 p.m. and on weekends, the on-call chaplain is available by pager in emergent situations and is within 60 minutes’ travel time of the hospital. Hospital staff may page a chaplain directly during the day or dial “0” to page a chaplain through the hospital operator. Chaplains check in with their units daily to identify patients’ statuses or patient care needs. Patients are referred to Pastoral Care, or chaplains may visit patients on a drop-in basis as time allows. Patients/families may drop in or call Pastoral Care to request a visit.

Current guidelines for practice are:

  • A chaplain will visit every patient/family who requests a pastoral call.
  • A chaplain will visit every patient/family to whom a referral is made and will visit any patient/family the staff feels has psychological, social or spiritual needs.
  • A chaplain will make every effort to round on assigned units to meet patients/families who have not requested a visit or whom staff have not identified are in crisis.

The chaplain, who may be of a specific religious tradition, serves as an interfaith chaplain within the hospital and will attempt to provide religious services, as requested, or to find someone who can do so for the patient/family.

Chaplains provide religious or spiritual care and comfort in keeping with the patient’s/family’s belief and values. The chaplains do not impose their beliefs on the patient/family but will inquire about values, beliefs and rituals as needed.

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Last Update
January 12, 2012
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