Spiritual Support at Western
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For some, spirituality is key to the healing process from cancer. At CTCA at Western Regional Medical Center (Western) our Pastoral Care Department offers counseling, classes, and worship services throughout your cancer journey.
One of Western's chaplains, Suzanne Leahy, describes spirituality as more than just religion for some individuals, “Spirituality often involves a deep connection or relationship with God which fosters a sense of peace and understanding. We want to support this connection in every way we can during the patient’s stay at Western.”
You may question your fundamental beliefs after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Western's pastoral care counselors are available to discuss uncertainties, depression, and anxieties that may arise as a result of lifestyle changes stemming from cancer. Working with a counselor may help you to better cope with the psychological and emotional effects of the disease.
Assessment and Plan
If you choose to take advantage of the center's spiritual support services, you will meet with a member of our pastoral care team, typically within the first 24 hours of your arrival at the hospital. Your chaplain will conduct a spiritual assessment regarding your particular beliefs, what you are going through, and how she/he may be of help.
Throughout your cancer care, your chaplain will meet with you and members of your family upon request. Your chaplain will monitor you to make sure you are focusing on positive emotions as you deal with the challenges of cancer.
Our chaplains may use an assessment tool called RCOPE, or Religious Coping. This tool shows your chaplain if you are undergoing a religious struggle. You chaplain can then identify areas in which he or she can help set you on the road toward peace and joy.
CTCA hospitals are not affiliated with a particular religion and therefore, provide services to individuals of any faith background. “We work with many congregations and churches around the Phoenix area so that if we don’t have someone on staff that can cater to a person’s spiritual beliefs, we have someone else that can come in from the community. We want everyone to feel comfortable,” says Leahy.
There are many goals pertaining to spiritual counseling. A few of them are as follows:
- Maintain a peaceful spirit in the midst of a difficult time
- Promote forgiveness
- Reduce feelings of isolation and restore connectedness
- Develop a positive outlook on life and a sense of empowerment to face the world
We’re Here for You
If you choose to incorporate spiritual support into your cancer care plan, we offer different avenues to support you throughout your journey. Western offers Sunday inter-faith worship services, faith-based classes, and individual or group counseling. Our chaplains are available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If there is an emergency, they can be reached via pager.
The following is a comprehensive list of spiritual support services offered at Western:
- Visitation and counsel
- Group and individual prayer
- Telephone consultation
- Worship services
- Patient rights issues
- Grief and bereavement counseling
- Assistance with developing advanced directives and/or living wills
- Crisis intervention
- Support with end-of-life issues and decisions
- Classes that focus on healing, faith and life
After you leave Western, our chaplains will continue to provide spiritual support by phone and through the Our Journey of Hope® Program.
Our Journey of Hope® is a spiritual outreach program and website for cancer patients and their families, regardless of whether or not they are CTCA patients. The goal is to strengthen the connection between cancer patients and their spiritual beliefs. The website unites a community of believers and provides inspirational stories, devotionals, and ways to connect with others dealing with cancer. Patients and caregivers can also find ways to access spiritual support staff members on the website.
Another component of the Our Journey of Hope® Program featured on the website is lay ministry training. Members of the Pastoral Care Team at CTCA travel across the country to provide eight hours of training to church staff and congregants - free of charge. These spiritual counselors teach methods for supporting cancer patients and their loved ones throughout their journey.