Spiritual Support: Assessment & Plan
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As a new patient at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center, you will be automatically scheduled to meet with a member of the pastoral care team, typically within the first 24 hours of your arrival at the hospital.
It is up to you to decide whether you would like to keep your appointment. The purpose of the initial visit with pastoral care is to get to know you. You will also learn about spirituality and health, and the purpose of hope.
“I am scheduled to meet with every new patient. I ultimately end up meeting with about 70 to 75 percent of them in the new patient orientation meeting. If I am the person they want to talk to when they come here, I’ll be here,” says Rev. Barry.
Together, you and your chaplain will discuss your beliefs and assess your spiritual needs. Part of this assessment is a spirituality questionnaire, which includes a series of questions related to religious struggles. Your chaplain will use this assessment to identify some very important things about you to determine if you are living your best life.
“To have someone explain to you that it’s about enjoying your life makes a difference. A lot of times, we just validate what they know already,” says Rev. Barry.
Spiritual support plan
Based upon your identified needs, your chaplain will incorporate spiritual support into your overall treatment plan. Working within your belief system, they will help you explore ways that spirituality can play a part in your healing. For instance, you may practice spirituality through organized religion, prayer, meditation, silent observation, spending time with nature, creative outlets, and so on.
“There are a lot of different things they can do, such as reading or starting a new hobby. It’s hard to give people a list of things because what makes my heart sing may not make someone else’s heart sing,” says Rev. Barry.
Throughout your care, your chaplain will meet with you and/or your family members as often as you need. For example, you may have them visit with you prior to a scheduled surgical procedure for the purpose of providing prayer, encouragement and support.
To monitor your spiritual health, your chaplain will use a spiritual assessment tool called RCOPE, or Religious Coping. When the assessment tool discloses high levels of religious struggle, your chaplain will focus on those areas. The goal is to help you learn that there are other positive emotions to experience, such as joy, happiness, peace, and contentment.
During off hours, on-call chaplains are available. The chaplains carry pagers, so whenever there is an emergency, no matter what time of day, they can offer assistance and support to you and your family. “Pastoral care is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Rev. Barry.
The pastoral care team will always treat you with great sensitivity and respect to your religious background and traditions. They reach across cultures, beliefs and religious backgrounds to address a broad spectrum of faiths.
“It’s a lot like being a cancer coach. You can call it counseling, but it’s really kind of cancer coaching,” says Rev. Barry.