Spiritual Care in Hospice
The spiritual care coordinator (sometimes referred to as the hospice chaplain) is a key member of the hospice interdisciplinary team providing in-home support and comfort at end of life.
What is hospice?
Hospice provides physical, emotional and spiritual support to both the patient and their loved ones during end of life. Patients may elect the hospice benefit when they have a prognosis of six months or less if their disease runs its normal course, and they are choosing to no longer pursue aggressive curative treatments. Home hospice focuses on quality of life, personal goals and helping control pain and symptoms so patients may live their final days as comfortable as possible. Hospice also provides education and support to family members and caregivers throughout the dying process and bereavement care for 13 months after the passing of their loved one.
What is spiritual care in the home hospice setting?
In-home hospice provides care for the whole individual – body, mind and spirit. Spiritual care can help patients and their families find meaning, acceptance and connection throughout the patient’s end-of-life journey.
What does a spiritual care coordinator do?
If the hospice patient and family agree to receive spiritual care, the spiritual care coordinator learns about the patient’s and family’s cultural and religious beliefs and values, and then develops and implements a plan of care that meets their spiritual needs, hopes and goals. This may include:
- Providing services such as prayer, listening, rituals, emotional support and life review.
- Communicating with local religious leaders to ensure appropriate care is given.
- Informing the hospice interdisciplinary team of the patient’s/family’s beliefs so they are honored.
- Assisting with funerals or memorial services.
Why does hospice provide spiritual care services to patients and families?
As many people turn to religion or spirituality for comfort at end of life, the spiritual care coordinator plays an important role in helping patients and families find peace.
How do I learn more about hospice services?