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Pastoral Care

When to Call a Chaplain

Obviously not every patient will want to see a chaplain. The best way to determine if the patient or the patient's family could benefit from the assistance a chaplain can provide is to ask. Many people are not aware of the role a chaplain can play so how the question is worded can be important. Helping phrasing can include words such as: "You might find talking to chaplain could be helpful. They're good listeners. Would you like me to see if someone is free to come up later this morning?"

Always Consider Calling a Chaplain When:

  • A baby is being delivered with any significant level of risk
  • A baby or fetus has died
  • A patient is critically ill (for patient need or family need)
  • After a patient dies (for prayer, family support)
  • A patient receives/is about to receive a serious diagnosis
  • A patient or family member is faced with making a difficult decision
  • a patient needs emotional or spiritual support for any reason
  • A patient learns that s/he is not going to be able to return home to live
  • A patient has witnessed or been close to a death in the hospital (perhaps a roommate or a code blue on the floor)
  • A patient appears depressed or moody
  • When organ donation is being considered
  • A patient appears to have a lot anger or strong emotions

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