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Spiritual Care

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Chaplains listen deeply and help patients and families sort through their spiritual and emotional concerns and questions. They sustain, support, guide, and help people in their search for meaning in illness and for reconciliation in relationships. Chaplains offer consultation and counsel regarding spiritual, emotional, and ethical matters. They support by listening without judging, sharing without preaching, and offering the resources of tradition, sacraments, scripture, ritual and personal presence.

Chaplains are available to support those of any faith tradition, or none. They represent theistic and non-theistic traditions and come from multiple faith affiliations. Religious services can be arranged through the Spiritual Care Department for baptisms, weddings, memorials, rituals, and religious day observances. Sacraments and prayers for healing are offered upon request.

Spiritual care of patients and their families are always done in collaboration with the medical team. Chaplains attend rounds, participate in team and family meetings, and contribute a spiritual perspective to the patient’s particular situation and plan of care. They gather and evaluate relevant data pertinent to the patient’s situation and bio-psycho-social-spiritual health. They then develop a plan of care to address spiritual/religious issues and provide for continuity of care, collaborating with the medical team to implement the plan.

At Swedish, all chaplains are board-certified chaplains. This means that chaplains are accountable to the institution, to a national certifying body, and to a particular faith tradition. Minimal requirements for our chaplains include a master’s degree in theological studies, one year of full-time clinical education in a health care setting, and endorsement by a faith group. Chaplains follow a code of ethics that requires respectful care for all persons and have specialized training in caring for hospitalized patients. They observe standards of practice developed by the Association of Professional Chaplains for use in acute care settings.

Chaplains are available 24 hours a day, every day. To speak to a chaplain, call the hospital operator at 206-386-6000.