Professional chaplains provide spiritual care in a variety of healthcare settings, including but not limited to the following:-
Long term care and assisted living
Mental retardation and development disability, and Hospice and palliative care
Professional chaplains offer spiritual care to all who are in need and have specialized education to mobilize spiritual resources so that patients cope more effectively. They maintain confidentiality and provide a supportive context within patients can discuss their concerns. They are professionally accountable to their religious faith group, their certifying chaplaincy organization, and the employing institution. Professional chaplains and their certifying organization demonstrate a deep commitment and sensitivity to the diverse ethnic and religious cultures found in North America. An increasing number of Professional chaplains are members of non Christian communities and traditions.
Professional chaplains are theologically and clinically trained clergy or lay persons whose work reflects:-
Sensitivity to multi-cultural and multi-faith realities.
Respect for patient spiritual or religious preferences.
Understanding of the impact of illness on individuals and their caregivers.
Knowledge of health care organization structure and dynamics.
Accountability as part of a professional patient care team.
Accountability to their faith groups.
The chaplain works best as an integrated member of a team headed by the attending physician. A such he/she is better able to direct his her skills and resources toward the spiritual needs of a patient than when working alone .Although the chaplain should acquaint the physician with any pertinent information which may have come to his attention, nevertheless the chaplain reserves the right to respect the confidential nature of information given by a patient in the spirit of confession.
The chaplain will spend most of his/her time with those patients who are under severe physical or mental stress, or have especially difficult persona, social, or spiritual problems; therefore the major portion of his/her energy and effort will normally be devoted to a selected number of patients.
Although the chaplain main function is ministering to patients and their families, this is not all he contributes to the hospital. While the CEO forms the attitudes of the workers and the general atmosphere of the hospital, the chaplain can have a definite influence on the morale and well being for many members of the staff and employees and special circumstances may serve as the official personnel counselor. In addition he/she can be as useful as a counselor for CPE students, as advisor on religious activities for the school of nursing, and chaplain to staff. As an unofficial good will ambassador, the chaplain can be valuable to the hospital as a builder of vital public relations. He/she will endeavor to minister to the spiritual needs of all who enter the hospital. Incase of difference in faith or for other reasons his/her ministry is not acceptable to a person, he/she will be prepared to call in whoever is needed.
Through his/her understanding and poise, word and deed, he/she seeks to encourage one, relieve another of worry, aid a third to bear suffering, break the grip of despair for a fourth, gain serenity for one facing death, and to comfort the bereaved; so that individuals may be lead to personal growth, deeper understanding of their fellows, and increasing consciousness in GOD.