Illness affects people in many different ways. When we become terminally ill our perception of our physical, emotional, and spiritual life changes. What was once familiar may become strange and foreign as we learn to live with our terminal illness.
At this stage, medical services may not be enough. Emotions of anxiety, fear, anger, frustration and sadness are common and normal. Many people seek emotional and spiritual guidance to work through their feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, frustration and sadness. They want someone who is fully present and can help them maintain their dignity, power of choice and peace of mind.
Our hospice program is designed to provide this level of caring for the "whole" patient and the patient's family. We have a staff of professional chaplains who have specialized training in pastoral care and can provide effective emotional support and both religious and non-religious care of the spirit. The role of the hospice chaplain varies. Rather than trying to impose religious beliefs, our chaplains endeavor to be good listeners and to help patients cope with questions and other issues raised by terminal illness. They encourage patients to talk about their concerns and discover their own meaningful answers. If the patient is affiliated with a local religious organization or place of worship, the chaplain can help communicate spiritual needs to the patient's clergy.
For patients who are not comfortable speaking with a chaplain but need to vent their feelings to someone with an empathetic ear, our medical social workers, with specialized training in psychosocial care, also provide excellent emotional support.