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Thursday, January 22, 2015

What Do Hospice Chaplains Do?

--> Note: I developed the following as a handout to leave with Hospice patients and families after my initial visit. I thought, perhaps, you might be interested in the answer to this question, too. And, I wondered: If you were challenged to develop a one page paper that describes the ministry you do - laity or ordained, in or outside of the church - what would that look like? 

What do Hospice Chaplains do?

The answer to that question may be different than you think.

Hospice Chaplains work as part of a holistic team that cares for your body, mind and spirit.

Chaplains work with skilled nurses, social workers and CNAs to provide you with quality holistic care.

We honor your spirituality and/or faith tradition, if you have one.

Chaplains don’t take the place of your spiritual leader, your pastor, minister, priest, rabbi, or imam. Chaplains also serve those who don’t have a spiritual leader or a faith community.

Whether you are a patient or a family member, Hospice Chaplains:

           Walk with you on this journey of hospice.

Help you determine if you’re anxious about or afraid of anything . . . and we help you work through those anxieties or fears.

Learn from you and try to help you find peace.

Honor and help you better understand what YOU believe – not what the chaplain believes.

Work alongside any spiritual leader you have, because chaplains and pastors have different roles. If you haven’t been in contact with them, we will contact them for you, if you like.

Help you with difficult conversations and tough decisions.

Assist in funeral preparations and officiate at funerals, if you want.

Help you connect or reconnect with others.

Listen to your life story and, if you’d like, share some stories of faith from sacred writings.

If you wish, we do pray with you and for you.


Catherine said...

Elizabeth+, you have spoken to the truest definitions of what chaplains and hospice chaplains are and what they do....Thank you so much as this is such an affirmation to my calling as well as those of many others.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Catherine. As you know, it's not an easy job. Oh, the stories behind each of those descriptives! But, oh, my, do I love this ministry.

Mary-Cauliflower said...

Over the past year or so I've read your posts on your chaplaincy with great interest - I've always admired those who work with the dying. Little did I know that your posts were preparing me to face my own mother's very short illness (a glioblastoma that was detected on December 5) and death on January 11. We had hospice nurses at my parents' house, and they helped me to overcome my own hesitancy and participate in bathing, dressing, and other tasks of care. I was nervous. I was a zombie. But I could do it, and I think that understanding hospice as prayer-through-work helped me. Thank you for your writing.