Thursday, June 25, 2015

3 Crucial Steps to Take When Asked to Speak with a Non-hospice Facility Resident

The subject matter indicated by the title of this posting could not be more serious. There are many times when I have been asked to visit a depressed facility patient when making my assigned visits. Isn’t that what a Chaplain is supposed to do? Case in point, there was a time when a Chaplain asked me what his response should be when he was asked to visit with a facility resident that was depressed and talking about committing suicide. Here are 3 crucial steps to take: 1. Decline to see the resident as that person is not a hospice patient. This is a boundary issue and an ethical issue. 2. Urge the person making the request to contact her superior to have a psych-eval. 3. Urge the person making the request to evaluate if the resident is in imminent danger of harming themselves and follow the facility protocol for dealing with suicidal residents. This type of an issue is not a hospice Chaplain’s responsibility. To accept this offer is to endanger the Chaplain and the hospice in any litigation that may follow if the person did commit suicide. Chaplains, stay within your boundaries as an employee of the hospice. We can’t and needn’t think we can fix all people.

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