Pastoral care can be an important part of the healing process for both patients and their families. Pastoral care has been integrated into the healing process by many health care institutions from hospitals to nursing homes. Pastoral care does not stop there though. Many congregations have outreach ministries that go to homes of shut-ins and quite a few will have groups or classes that meet to help in healing.
Hospital Based Pastoral Care
Many hospitals offer spiritual care to their patients. Some, such as Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland offer access to chaplains twenty-four hours a day three hundred and sixty-five days a year. The Cleveland Clinic, like many major metropolitan area hospitals can even find a spiritual counselor of your choosing if one is not on staff. No matter the denomination, most hospital based chaplains have clinical training to help deepen their understanding of what you, as a patient or family member, may be facing. You may want to contact the spiritual care team if you are upset or feeling anxious about your health condition, you are facing end of life issues, if you are having a struggle coping with your medical condition, if your particular faith has rites of the sick or dying, or you just want the comfort of meeting with someone of your own faith. You can make contact with your hospitals pastoral care team through your nurse or the hospitals family liaison.
Many congregations offer pastoral care or spiritual counseling in the form of groups, classes or one on one meetings with the pastor or another trained in spiritual care. Saddleback Church in Lake Forest California offers a variety of services to the ill. They will send to the hospital members that have been trained and screened to the hospital for visitation. Grace Church of Middleburg Hts., Ohio offers visits to nursing homes, shut-ins, many classes that address the spiritual needs of the ill, from those in recovery from addictions to those struggling with mental illness. Grace Church, like a lot of other churches, also offers individual counseling.
It is tough sometimes for families to cope with the loss of a loved one. It doesn’t matter whether the death was sudden or came after a long struggle, it can be hard to sort your feelings. Many find solace and a safe place to share their feelings in a bereavement group sponsored by their hospital, nursing home or local congregation. The best way to find a group in your area is to contact your local congregation’s office. If they don’t offer bereavement groups they can guide you in the right direction.
Johns Hopkins Medicine;
University of Pennsylvania Health System;
Saddleback Church Support Group Ministries:
Grace Christian & Missionary Alliance Church Outreach;