Pastoral Care

Overview

Catholic health care is committed to care of the whole person – body, mind and spirit. We listen, we explain and we serve with compassion. As the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services states: “Since a Catholic health care institution is a community of healing and compassion, the care offered is not limited to the treatment of a disease or bodily ailment but embraces the physicial, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions of the human person. … For this reason, Catholic health care extends to the spiritual nature of the person. … Directed to the spiritual needs that are often appreciated more deeply during times of illness, pastoral care is an integral part of Catholic health care.” (Part Two: The Pastoral and Spiritual Responsibility of Catholic Health Care, Introduction)

Through the Pastoral Care Advisory Committee, CHA looks at the changing landscape, challenges and opportunities for delivering spiritual care in new and creative ways. While pastoral care has traditionally been provided in Catholic hospitals and long-term care facilities, the shift in health care delivery to non-acute care and outpatient settings has created new opportunities for patients and residents to receive holistic care in these new settings. Many of our members are using chaplains in physician offices and ambulatory settings where patients with chronic diseases are being treated. Catholic health care is committed to providing holistic care in whatever setting care is being delivered. The need for qualified chaplains is growing.

Recognizing there is a shortage of trained, qualified chaplains in health care, CHA is committed to working collaboratively with board certifying groups to ensure there will be enough qualified chaplains to fill the needs going into the future. Many members are finding ways to use board certified chaplains with the most critically ill patients and supplement their staff though trained volunteers and local clergy. For more information about pastoral care activities, please contact Brian Smith, MS, MA, M.Div., CHA senior director of mission integration and leadership formation.