The Chaplain will support patients and families at this holiday recognizing that all may be suffering emotionally not being together at home. There are at least two scenarios: the patient with a family and a patient with no family. Each scenario requires that the Chaplain be aware of these circumstances and provides a compassionate and gracious presence.
The patient with family present for them
The following will serve as guidelines for Chaplains, even though, the experienced Chaplain may find these to be second nature.
v Employ inter-active listening
v Provide an empathetic pastoral presence
v Facilitate the actions the family would like to take for Thanksgiving.
v Work with the Hospice House staff to ensure they are aware of what the plan is so they can assist.
v Bear in mind this will most likely be the last Thanksgiving the family and patient will celebrate together and let that truth dictate all you do.
The patient who is alone with no family
o Recognize we can’t fix circumstances, but we will do what we do best in providing a loving and encouraging presence for the patient.
o Should the patient want to discuss the issue that he or she will be alone for Thanksgiving, provide an empathetic pastoral presence and use your best listening skills.
o Plan for what you will do on Thanksgiving for these patients. Most HH patients cannot enjoy eating anymore, but they do enjoy the presence of the Chaplain. Be sure you see the patient to provide support.