The chaplains are requested by patients when their terminal illness no longer responds to medical treatment. Usually, patients facing such an emotional situation seek spiritual care as well.
- The chaplains meet with patients and their families and assess their spiritual care needs.
- Chaplains may consult with doctors and patients’ community clergy members to get a better sense of patients’ state of mind.
- Chaplains provide personalized support that fits with patients’ spiritual beliefs as they deal with impending death.
- Chaplains counsel family members and offer spiritual support as they prepare for their loved one’s death.
- Chaplains may organize or lead funeral or memorial services as well.
- They manage bereavement services as dictated by hospice policy and federal and state hospice regulations.
- Chaplains may lead regular memorial services for staff members and perform other liturgical assignments as requested.
- The chaplains must be members of the clergy who administer spiritual care to terminally ill patients.
- They may represent any faith group but allow patients’ spiritual beliefs to guide the care that they provide.
- They must be empathetic and able to handle situations of great stress and sadness.
- They must be able to provide emotional support and stability in times of both happiness and grief.
- They should be able to participate in formal ceremonies, and the ability to maintain a professional demeanor appropriate to the situation is required.
- The chaplains can come from diverse backgrounds.
- They are formally educated at a university or seminary; others may ascend to their positions with little formal education.