Welcome to the first online resource from professional health care chaplains to provide spiritual care comfort for everyone – whoever you are and whatever you believe.
When people and their family caregivers are coping with illness, trauma, or grief, often they struggle with issues of spiritual distress, which may or may not be grounded in religious belief or practice.
Spiritual distress is the disruption in one’s beliefs or value system. It can affect a person not only in their thoughts about what is the meaning of their new or ongoing health crisis, but also physically and emotionally. It affects someone’s whole being -- body, mind, and spirit -- as beliefs once held as important may now be challenged.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first online service that provides professional-quality, thoughtful, and practical spiritual care information and resources and support to the general public.
It’s been created by HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™, a nonprofit health care organization that has been caring for the human spirit® since 1961. We help people faced with the distress of illness and suffering to find comfort and meaning. We’re a leader in providing compassionate spiritual care in hospitals, online, and elsewhere, and a leader in education and research. The Wall Street Journal (December 8, 2013) reports that the role of spirituality in health care is growing, as more people are recognizing that whole-person care encompasses spirit, mind, and body.
PS. If you represent a health care institution, you can cost-effectively extend the reach of your spiritual care coverage by licensing this website and branding it with your institution’s name and logo. Learn more here.
Also, you can improve care to overnight inpatients, the growing outpatient population and stressed staff through a chaplaincy call center. Learn more here.
Eric J. Hall
President & Chief Executive Officer
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™
Advanced Practice Chaplain Karen Pugliese explains in this brief video how a chaplain is a healer who cares for the human spirit for those in spiritual pain regardless of one's religion or beliefs.
Anyone diagnosed with a serious illness or living with a chronic illness and physical pain may be facing both stress and distress that can be not only physical but emotional and spiritual.
Professional, board-certified chaplains are the spiritual care specialists on the health care team as doctors and nurses focus on caring for the body.
Professional chaplains do not provide definitive answers to questions and issues of spiritual distress. Instead, they help people in spiritual distress to identify and draw upon their sources of spiritual strength – regardless of religion or beliefs. As one very experienced professional chaplain puts it:
“Our most fundamental human condition is that we come face to face with our own mortality. As chaplains, we walk into some dark places and help bring in light. We’re not afraid of their darkness. We’re not afraid of their fear. We don’t care who a person is or who you’ve been. We want to be with you where you are.
“We try to find common ground and a common language, speaking about hope, love, faith, relationships, family, regrets. Our goal is not to get you from one point to the other. Our goal is to help you identify where you want to go.”
Professional chaplains will accept without judgment the person in pain’s own beliefs, faith and practice as well as their doubts and misgivings.
A health care chaplain becomes board certified by one of the professional associations when he or she meets the requirements: has completed graduate level study and 1600 hours of supervised clinical training, demonstrates competencies through a rigorous peer review process, and commits to a professional code of ethics prohibits proselytizing.
Some professional chaplains are also ordained clergy or recognized religious/spiritual leaders depending on their tradition; some are not.
While local clergy and religious leaders who volunteer to see patients in hospitals usually serve only patients of their own religious faith, professional health care chaplains seek to care for everyone – whoever you are and whatever you believe.