October is Chaplain Appreciation Month

What Does a Hospice Chaplain Do?

Hospice care helps support the physical and emotional needs of patients who have a terminal diagnosis. The team approach of hospice includes a nurse, social worker, and a chaplain under the supervision of a physician. Personal care aides and therapists may be added to support as well.
A chaplain ensures that patients feel free to discuss

  • their spiritual concerns,
  • ask essential questions,
  • realize the importance of their lives, and
  • feel at peace as they near death.

  • Chaplains also play an integral role in supporting the family of the patient.
  • Hospice chaplains do not necessarily have a religious affiliation or denomination. Their goal for interactions is not to convert or challenge the patient and family in their belief systems.

How Hospice Chaplains Help Patients

A hospice chaplain’s typical job responsibilities include the following:

  • Regularly meeting with patients
  • Participate as a hospice team members for care collaboration
  • Support a patient’s ritual or spiritual practice, such as prayer or meditation
  • Addressing questions about spirituality
  • Helping patients and family process the loss
  • Having meaningful conversations with patients about how their lives have value

How Hospice Chaplains Help Patients’ Families

  • Hospice chaplains provide spiritual care to patients and their families
  • Hospice chaplains also support families during the bereavement process after a patient has passed away.