Monday, January 05, 2015

What does a chaplain do anyway?

A.Hanson, Minnesota 2014
What does a chaplain do anyway?

I get this question a lot in the hospital as well as outside the hospital.  The answer is that I do tons of different things.

Here is a snapshot of what I have done in the last week:

Discussing a patient's wishes for their medical care should they be unable to speak for themselves. Helping them to complete paperwork to appoint a healthcare agent (MDPOA).

Brought a teddy bear to a toddler in the ER who fell off her bed and knocked out several teeth.

Did detective work to figure out the identity of a John Doe patient in the ER. Called county sheriff and asked them to send an officer to the listed address. Found a family member and met them at the doors of the ER.  Connected them with healthcare staff.

Found a buddhist monk to visit a buddhist patient.

Read psalms and sang hymns to an agitated elderly patient at the request of a nurse, to assist nursing staff in calming the patient enough for treatment.

Had a discussion with the husband of a patient who was dying.  The patient's husband wished she could be at home. Talked about how to make the hospital more home-like. Advocated for patient and family with nursing staff to make these wishes happen (patient's own pajamas and blanket, and being held by her husband).

Sat with a family for hours while doctors attempted to stabilize their loved one who had suffered cardiac arrest. Prayed with them, held their hands, and brought them water.

Prayed with a family whose matriarch had just died.

Visited a teenager who had an accident that left him paralyzed.

Blessed the Cath labs at the request of the staff after they had experienced several tough deaths there.

Served as a designated requester for Donor Alliance, to ask for consent for tissue and cornea donation, from the family of a recently deceased patient.

1 comment:

Andrés Herrera said...

Hi Amy,

Thanks for sharing more about chaplains do. I´m going to start CPE this summer and it's great to read more about the experience.