Healing Prayers for All
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Communication

It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends.  For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place?  Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone?  How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team?  Are there food preferences or restrictions? Also, consider whether there are things that you may or may not want expressed in your loved one’s room:  is it okay for a nurse, for example, to say that she is praying for you, or would you prefer no religious talk be done in the room?

Environment

The room in which your loved one is being cared for has become their personal space.  How do you want it to be?  Do you prefer quiet and low lights, unless needed for a medical need, or is it important to have the curtains open and sunlight coming in?  Is having favorite music playing softly helpful or a favorite TV channel playing when you cannot be present with your loved one?  Who do you want to be able to visit?  Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

Although you do not have a formal religious community or affiliation, for many persons a sense of spirituality and meaning is expressed through favorite objects and symbols that are displayed in the room or worn by your loved one.  If there are things that are important to have with your loved one, it is important to communicate this to your health care team to know what objects can be allowed in a health care environment as well as how you want them to be respected.

Resources

The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your spiritual and cultural beliefs are honored and accommodated.  Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families.   They can also help you in notifying loved ones and friends if you need assistance.

Communication

It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends.  For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place?  Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone?  How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team?  Does your loved one want pain medications that might make their thinking less clear while controlling their pain, or would they prefer to have a lower dose?  What about food preferences or restrictions?  Be sure to talk openly and clearly with your medical team about what is important to you and your loved one so they have the best information to care for your loved one according to your wishes.

Environment

The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider.  How do you want it to be?  Is it important that it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided?  Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them?  Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

It can often be important for persons and family caregivers to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones.  This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about.  You may want to have others from your tradition to come and provide or join in readings, and the health care team can assist in coordinating the best time to do this.  Many persons also want certain symbols of healing or that represent their spiritual beliefs to be present with their loved one.  If you have objects that are important, such as a chant box, statues, or pictures let the health team know so that it can be placed in a respectful place and understand their importance. If there are symbols or objects that you would like your loved one to wear, be sure your health team knows about them because it can usually be arranged for that to occur even while your loved one is receiving medical care.

Resources

The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated.  Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families.   They can also help you in notifying your religious community if you need assistance.

Communication

It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends.  For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place?  Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone?  How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team?  Is daily bathing important as part of your belief system?   Does your loved one have food preferences or restrictions? Be sure to talk openly and clearly with your medical team about what is important to you and your loved one so they have the best information to care for your loved one according to your wishes.

Environment

The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider.  How do you want it to be?  Is it important that it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided?  Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them? Are there times when you would prefer privacy for prayers or other ritual? Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

It can often be important for persons and family caregivers to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones.  This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about.  You may want to have a priest and others from your faith community come to offer prayers and chants; the health care team can assist in coordinating the best time to do this.  Many persons also want certain symbols of healing or that represent their spiritual beliefs to be present with their loved one.  If you have objects that are important, such as pictures, fresh flowers, prayer beads or other items,tell your health team so that they can be placed in a respectful place and their importance understood. If there are symbols or objects that you would like your loved one to wear, be sure your health team knows about them because it can usually be arranged for that to occur even while your loved one is receiving medical care.

Resources

The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated.  Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families.   They can also help you in notifying your religious community if you need assistance.

Communication

Judaism, across the denominational lines, emphasizes the dignity and sanctity of life.

Yet, Tradition understands that at certain time and in certain contexts, the value  of dignity and sanctity may rest in allowing a life to end. Medical technology has made these decisions ever more personal and, often, ever more complex. This is why it is so important to have a conversation within your family as to one’s wishes. Consultation with your rabbi is very important as there may be differences in approaches depending on where one rests on the denominational spectrum. If you cannot access a rabbi, speak with the hospital or hospice chaplain. Every branch of contemporary American Judaism supports hospice, favors organ donation and encourages the development of an Advanced Medical Directive (“living will”) and Health Care Power of Attorney. The more these issues are discussed, the greater the chance that one’s life will reflect the values of dignity and sanctity; even at life’s end.

Environment

Jewish tradition has texts that suggest how one should visit a sick person. It is one of our highest mitzvoth to visit. Increasingly, people choose to remain at home, if at all possible. This may not be possible in your case. Try and surround a person with as much familiar objects as possible. There are few things more frightening than a feeling of being alone and isolated. Jewish tradition sees little, if any, value in pain and suffering. Thus, palliative care is a major tool in creating a personal environment that supports dignity and sanctity. One’s care team should be interested in learning the beliefs and feelings of the patient. It is important to let those who are caring for someone, what that person’s beliefs (or lack thereof) are so that a healing and supportive environment can be maintained.

Rituals &  Symbols

Jewish tradition is rich in the use of prayer and ritual. The prayer for healing (mi’she’berach) is often recited at bedside or, in the synagogue. Often, the person’s Hebrew name is used.  There are rituals as well for when life ebbs. A short death bed confession is sometimes recited with the person, if they are capable. In certain cases, a rabbi may be asked to give a patient a new Hebrew name so as to confuse the “angel of death”. Increasingly, families are creating their own more personalized prayers or rituals that bring comfort to a person. The tradition also has a wealth of rituals that emerge following death. Those that involve the time from death to burial and the period of mourning (shiva) can be confusing and those questions need to be discussed with your rabbi. One of the frequently asked questions in recent times has involved cremation. Traditional Judaism still does not sanction this practice, while, increasingly, the more liberal branches of contemporary Judaism allow for this ritual. As we have stated, it is always best to consult your rabbi or a source with knowledge of Jewish practice.

Resources

Just about every branch of contemporary Judaism has resources available, often on-line.  The rabbi will be the best person to contact for these or, a chaplain who has some familiarity with Jewish sources. There are differences in approaches in some end of life decisions and in some of the practices associated with burial and mourning.

Communication

It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends.  For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place?  Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone?  How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team?  What about food preferences or restrictions?  Prayer times may be important events for privacy and no medical interruption unless there is an emergency.  Talk openly and clearly with your medical team about what is important to you and your loved one so they have the best information to care for your loved one according to your wishes.

Environment

The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider.  How do you want it to be?  Is it important that it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided?  Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them? Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

It can often be important for persons and family caregivers to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones.  This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about.  You may want to have Elders come to provide a blessing or others from your faith community come and pray with you and offer support.  The health care team can assist in coordinating the best times to for these activities; they may not be aware of the need for two Elders to participate in the blessing.  Many persons also want certain symbols of healing or that represent their spiritual beliefs to be present with their loved one.  If you, for example, would like a Book of Mormon or pictures to be in the room or near your loved one at all times, be sure to tell your health team.

Resources

The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated.  Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families.   They can also help you in notifying your faith community and obtaining Elders for a blessing.

Communication

It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends.  For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place?  Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone?  How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team?  What about food preferences or restrictions? Does your tradition require a same-sex medical provider for your loved one?  Prayer times may be important events for privacy and no medical interruption unless there is an emergency.  Talk openly and clearly with your medical team about what is important to you and your loved one so they have the best information to care for your loved one according to your wishes.

Environment

The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider.  How do you want it to be?  Is it important that it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided?  Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them? Would your loved one prefer to face in a specific direction if the bed can be moved?    Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

It can often be important for persons and family caregivers to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones.  This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about.  You may want to have others from your tradition to come and provide or join in readings, and the health care team can assist in coordinating the best time to do this.  Many persons also want certain symbols of healing or that represent their spiritual beliefs to be present with their loved one.  If you, for example, would like a Holy Qur'an to be in the room or near your loved one at all times, tell the health team that.

Resources

The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated.  Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families.   They can also help you in notifying your religious community if you need assistance.

Communication

It is important to talk with your health care team about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family and friends as well as tribal leaders.  For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition in their room, or would you want those conversations to be held in another place?  Who are the persons that need to be present from within your tradition for those conversations and decision-making?  Are there food preferences or restrictions?  Who is the decision-maker – husband or wife, children, parents, or someone else?

Environment

The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider.  How do you want it to be?  Is it important in your tradition for it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided?  Should your loved one be facing a certain direction?  Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them?  Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

Many times it can be important for families to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones.  This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about.  If you would like to have a medicine man/woman or other leaders from your community come to provide a ritual, let the health team know so that arrangements can be made and respected.  If there are rituals that are taking place at home that are important, especially in terms of time (such as a several days), this is important for the health team to know as well.    Many persons also want certain symbols of healing or that represent their spiritual beliefs to be present with their loved one.  If you have objects that are important, but that should not be touched by anyone else, let the health team know so that it can be placed in a respectful place.  If there are symbols or objects that you would like your loved one to wear, be sure that your health team knows because it can usually be arranged for that to occur even while your loved one is receiving medical care.

Resources

The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated.  Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families.   Often your tribal center will have other resources to help you in providing ritual, communicating your needs, and offering resources for care.

Communication

It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends.  For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place?  Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone?  How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team?   Prayer times may be important events for privacy and no medical interruption unless there is an emergency.  Talk openly and clearly with your medical team about what is important to you and your loved one so they have the best information to care for your loved one according to your wishes.

Environment

The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider.  How do you want it to be?  Is it important that it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided?  Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them? Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

It can often be important for persons and family caregivers to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones.  This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about.  You may want to have your pastor or others responsible for care to those who are in need come to visit and pray with you or offer Sacraments or other rituals.  The health care team can assist in coordinating the best times to for these activities. Many persons also want certain symbols of healing or that represent their spiritual beliefs to be present with their loved one.  If you, for example, would like a Bible, a cross, or other pictures to be in the room or near your loved one at all times, be sure to tell your health team.

Resources

The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated.  Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families.   They can also help you in notifying your church.

Communication

It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends.  For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place?  Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone?  How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team?  Does your loved one want pain medications that might make their thinking less clear while controlling their pain, or would they prefer to have a lower dose?  Be sure to talk openly and clearly with your medical team about what is important to you and your loved one so they have the best information to care for your loved one according to your wishes.

Environment

The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider.  How do you want it to be?  Is it important that it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided?  Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them?  Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

It can often be important for persons and family caregivers to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones.  This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about.  For example, is it important that your priest come to provide sacramental care to your loved one?  If the Sacrament of Communion is or was important to your loved one and he/she has difficulty in swallowing, talk with your health care team who will be able to assist in alternatives.  Many persons also want certain religious symbols to be present, either in the room or worn by your loved one, such as a rosary.  If this is important to you, talk with your health care team as it can usually be arranged for that to occur even when your loved one is receiving medical care.

Resources

The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated.  Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families.  They can also help you in notifying your parish or priest if you need assistance.

Communication

It is always important to think about how you want information to be shared with your loved one, yourself, and other family (as you define “family”) and friends. For example, do you want the doctor to talk about your loved one’s condition with both of you in the same room, or would you want the conversation to be held in another place? Who do you want to be with you for those conversations, if anyone? How are decisions made for and with your loved one and how are they shared with your medical team?   Prayer or ritual times may be important events for privacy and no medical interruption unless there is an emergency. Talk openly and clearly with your medical team about what is important to you and your loved one so they have the best information to care for your loved one according to your wishes.

Environment

The room in which your loved one is being cared for is also an important thing to consider. How do you want it to be? Is it important that it to be as peaceful and calm as possible within the medical care your loved one is being provided? Is quiet important, or would your loved on prefer music and their loved ones around them? Letting the health care team know your preferences and needs will lead to talking about what is possible within the medical care that your loved one needs while respecting your wishes for the room.

Rituals and Symbols

It can often be important for persons and family caregivers to have rituals from their religious or cultural tradition to be provided for their loved ones. This is another thing to talk with your medical care team about. You may want to have others from your tradition to be able to come and visit and participate in rituals with you. The health care team can assist in coordinating the best times to for these activities. Many persons also want certain symbols of healing or that represent their spiritual beliefs to be present with their loved one. Are there objects important or sacred in your tradition that you want to have present? Are those items ones that those providing care to your loved one should not touch or move?

Resources

The health care setting where your loved one is will usually have a chaplain on their staff that can help you in ensuring that your cultural and religious beliefs are honored and accommodated. Professional chaplains are trained to care for all persons, and do not impose their beliefs on patients or families. They can also help you in notifying your support community.