Staying Connected: Tips from Christian Health Care Center Chaplains

Chaplains play a critical role at long-term care communities and acute-care hospitals on a daily basis. With the current global pandemic, the hope they offer to patients, residents, and team members is more important than ever. With visitation restricted in health-care settings, chaplains continue to visit patients and residents – following all safety protocols to protect themselves and those they are visiting.

At Christian Health Care Center (CHCC), four full-time, ordained chaplains ensure that every program, service, and residence at CHCC has spiritual guidance and support. CHCC chaplains also work closely with local clergy of various denominations and faiths to best support patients and residents from diverse beliefs and faith traditions.

Chaplains share prayers, offer guidance on mindfulness, provide spiritual counseling, and lead worship. The role of CHCC’s chaplains is not to evangelize, but rather to accompany each individual on their journey of faith.

During this trying time for countless health-care providers, CHCC chaplains are offering office hours for staff to drop by, talk, share prayers, and receive guidance. The Meditation Room on campus, typically reserved for visiting family members, has also been opened up for staff use as a place of quiet reflection and peace.

“In a time when a global pandemic has limited our social interactions, many are wondering how to stay in touch with their loved ones in residential-care facilities,” said Rev. Phyllis Palsma, MDiv, CHCC Director of Pastoral Care. “CHCC encourages families and friends to maintain contact with their loved one in unique ways while visitation is restricted.”

CHCC’s Pastoral Care Department offers the following suggestions for staying connected:

  • Regularly talk with your loved one on the telephone or hold a video chat. CHCC staff will help arrange virtual visits through FaceTime and Skype. During phone calls and video chats:
  • Keep the conversation hopeful. Try not to burden your loved one with your worries and concerns. Make an intentional act of setting aside your own personal frustration.
  • Listen, really listen, to your loved one and acknowledge their feelings.
  • Hold a video playdate with the grandchildren.
  • Reminisce about favorite shared family memories.
  • Read aloud favorite Bible passages.
  • Tell them about an uplifting or humorous part of your day.
  • Sing a favorite song or hymn together.
  • Read a favorite poem.
  • Say prayers aloud together.
  • Send an email. Attach pictures of yourself and/or family members or pets.
  • Take care of yourself. Acknowledge your own grief about the changes that have altered life as you and your loved one knew it. Talk with a friend, clergy member, family member, or a counselor about your feelings.
  • Bring your concerns to God in prayer.

Contact a CHCC chaplain if you sense that your loved one would benefit from a pastoral visit. You can reach the Pastoral Care Department at (201) 848-5839. For more information about CHCC’s virtual telehealth therapy, now accepting new clients, call (201) 848-5500. To learn about CHCC’s full preparedness action plan, visit ChristianHealthCare.org or call CHCC’s dedicated COVID-19 information line at (201) 848-4400.

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