Thursday, August 13, 2015
In the Face of Death...The Chaplain Ministering at the Hospice House
Best Practice for Chaplains Serving in Hospice Houses (an excerpt from the training guide) Basic Hospice Philosophy • Always remember patient care comes first. • This work is not about us as Chaplains, but about our patients and families. Before the Chaplain Enters a Facility Serving in a Hospice House will challenge you spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The stress of the position requires the Chaplain to address his or her inner person. Being spiritually centered before you enter the facility is an absolute necessity. You need to not only be there, you need to be ALL there. A healthy model for ministry is Jesus Christ. He said to his weary disciples in Mark 6:31, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Before you enter the facility, if you are feeling seriously stressed, write down your stressors, your emotional pain, or whatever might be a distraction and purpose to deal with it later. You must be clear in your thinking, your sensing, your speaking, and your spirit. The needs of the patients are priority needs. Again, they need you there and ALL there. Basic Practice in Chaplaincy Because both patient and family members are going through extreme emotional and spiritual pain, I am asking that you follow this action plan to ensure high quality spiritual care in the Houses: 1. Check on each patient daily. Complete all Initial Assessments the day the patient arrives at the Hospice House. Complete a Routine Assessment for patients that are lucid or have family members present for whom you opened a Care Plan (Spiritual Care [Family]). Document a Clinical Note when no one is present and the patient is either sleeping or is actively dying. 2. If family members are NOT present at the time you are at the House, contact them by phone and write a Clinical Note. 3. Should the family members or patient request a Priest or other religious leader make every effort to contact that faith leader and document your efforts. This is the Chaplain’s responsibility, not the Nurse’s. 4. Respond as soon as possible to any request by the Nurse(s) for spiritual concerns. Be supportive of all staff at the House. 5. Make yourself available to provide support to the staff when you are not in direct patient care. 6. Serve as a Hospice Ambassador to ALL who are visiting in your House. Seek out ways to provide care for families that are new to the Hospice House, i.e. getting them coffee, or other beverage; providing information about the House; introducing them to key leaders in the House that they might interact with. Remember, this may be routine for us as we are familiar with all the systems in the House, but this is their first journey into a Hospice House. Please help make this stressful journey one they will remember in a positive manner. Always be alert to a family member who is seated alone and looks distressed. Be a friend and confidant. Be Chaplain of the entire facility.