In looking to the future of sponsored ministry of Catholic institutions, the formation of future sponsors--both religious and lay alike--is an important issue. As this ministry continues to evolve, and sponsoring groups determine how best to prepare new sponsors, might it not be time to think about how to pool the ministry's collective wisdom on formation? Sponsors act not only in the name of the health care institution (or other ministry) but on behalf of the faith community engaged in continuing the compassionate healing ministry of Jesus.
Chaplains serving in the health care context provide a ministry to dying patients of inestimable worth as they comfort patients in the last chapter of the journey by being present, listening, and caring. Chaplains also play another important role, helping patients clarify ways in which their beliefs and values might influence health care decisions. This paper reviewed the current trends of spiritual diversity alongside the aging of a large Baby Boomer cohort.
Identifying patients' expectations of and need for healthcare chaplaincy is important in terms of appropriate intervention. Therefore, a sample of 612 patients from 32 general hospitals and psychiatric clinics in the German part of Switzerland was surveyed about their expectations of chaplaincy service. A principal component factor analysis of participants' ratings found that the survey items fell into three distinct categories. These were the need for (1) emotional support, (2) help to cope with illness/disease, and (3) religious/spiritual assistance.
The paper summarises the moral and spiritual factors important in care for sick people. Medical care is one of the ancient forms of our activity as humans, expounding care for other people's well-being. The moral aspect of medical care is deeply rooted in constant daily interaction between the patient and the doctor aiming at easing symptoms, support, help, prevention and defense. Such teleological orientation of medicine is, according to John Paul II, made possible not so much by technology but by physician's conscience, wisdom and unlimited honesty.
Chaplains who are clinically trained and certified spiritual care professionals can make a unique contribution in today's increasingly pluralistic and global health care context with diverse religious, spiritual and cultural values, beliefs and practices. The author characterizes this contribution as spiritual/cultural competency. A self-defined web of meaning is unique to each person, comprised of a composite of values and beliefs, a fabric woven by way of one's life narrative.
Palliative care encompasses spiritual as well as physical, social and psychological aspects. Spiritual care has been identified as a key concern of dying patients. During an audit of the Northern Ireland Hospice chaplaincy service against the national Standards for Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplaincy (2003), 62 patients' spiritual needs along with their interactions with the hospice chaplains were assessed by using a questionnaire survey and reviewing data recorded on their pastoral care notes.
In an attempt to schematically illustrate the pastoral care intervention to scientifically minded professionals and colleagues the author developed a model that can be used as an interdisciplinary teaching tool. Within the setting of hospital ministry, the tool also provides insights into the stages of "crisis experience" and illustrates the transformational process involved in The Healing Journey. These change-processes are explained against the background of a multi-level anthropology.
The professional identity of the chaplain in Dutch health care institutions is in need of a new theoretical underpinning. The continued employment of the "spiritual caregiver," as the professional is called in the Netherlands, may be at stake. In former days, she or he was primarily a religious office holder fulfilling ecclesiastical functions.
A chaplain's ability to provide care where it is most needed depends upon some method of pastoral triage. Screening for spiritual needs of children and adolescents has been a largely neglected area. A Delphi panel developed elements to be included in a tool to screen 10-18 year olds' spiritual needs and resources. The Delphi panelists were informed of survey results of school-aged children and adolescents' opinions on spiritual issues important to them if they were hospitalized.