ARTICLE PROVIDED BY REV. CHRISTIAN OKEKE, CHAPLAIN, PRINCESS ALEXANDRA HOSPITAL TRUST, HARLOW For WhereIsTheCare
Spiritual and pastoral care (Chaplaincy)
Spiritual and pastoral care is an essential part of the holistic care of the individual. A person’s spiritual needs are borne out of their core beliefs, their view of themselves, others, and the world. Spiritual pain often results when a person’s view of these areas are challenged. This can come about because of illness, impending death, grief or bereavement and when people are removed from their normal environment. Spiritual care is about recognizing and providing for those needs.
Introduction to the Department
Our Department of Spiritual and Pastoral Care is so named because Chaplains are charged with the spiritual and pastoral care of patients, their relatives and friends and of staff too. This may involve elements of religious care from time to time, but their work is not exclusively religious, and they are available to people of all faiths and of none.
Chaplains work as a part of the wider, multi-disciplinary team to assist in providing high quality patient care. With the consent of the patient or their next of kin, doctors, nurses and other health professionals may make referrals to the service. Patients may also self-refer. The department also offers 24/7 out of hours on-call service, which can be accessed through the switchboard.
How Chaplains can help you and your patients
Spiritual and pastoral care considers aspects of human person-hood that science alone cannot account for, and is an essential part of the holistic care of the individual. Chaplains can assist other colleagues in breaking bad news; coming alongside those who are lonely, confused or frightened, and supporting colleagues in the care of the dying. They are also a source of information about specific religious practices and rituals that may be important to patients, and have access to faith leaders from all the major groups in our area.
Within the staff community Chaplains provide support after traumatic events, such as debriefing after major incidents. They are also available, confidentially, for individual support.
The Chaplaincy office is located on the 1st floor of Parndon Hall, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow and the team is led by PAH NHS Trust Chaplain, the Reverend Christian Okeke, who can be paged via the switchboard.