Hospice Myth: The Role of the Chaplain

Each month we set the facts straight regarding myths surrounding hospice care.

This month’s myth: The role of the hospice chaplain is strictly a religious one

While hospice chaplains are trained to work with patients, families and caregivers of all faith backgrounds and beliefs, they are also trained to work with individuals and families who do not identify with any particular belief system.

Simply put, hospice chaplains are another resource for patients and families to call on when they are in need, whether it’s about a discussion on the meaning of life, what happens after death or a conversation with a caregiver to see how he or she is holding up. It doesn’t have to be about religion, says Dorothea James, Carroll Hospice’s lead chaplain.

If a family is religious, the chaplains are well equipped to help assist that family in coordinating with local faith communities to bring in services specific to that particular faith, as well as offer religious rites, services and prayer.

Dorothea and her team help patients, families and caregivers find ways to reduce stress, engage in self-care and add meaning to the final stage of life.

“I am there to help families find peace and comfort, and I meet them wherever they are,” Dorothea says.

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