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We all grapple with life’s existential questions:

Does my life have meaning?

How do I resolve old wounds and repair broken relationships?

Why do I have some many regrets?

Spiritual Care Manager, Dina Carroll sees firsthand how the quest for meaning gets even more profound for those dealing with a serious illness. “When people become ill they can no longer distract themselves from the big life questions that have flittered through their minds many times when their bodies were healthier. It’s true for the patient and family, that their assumptions about life get called into question,” said Dina.

A Hosparus Health Chaplain’s role is to work on healing the heart. She says, “Many of our chaplains start by simply asking, ‘how are you doing with all this?’ Or, if they have been sick for a while, they may say ‘there has been a lot of focus on your body but, I am here to focus on your heart. How is your heart doing with all this?’”

Sometimes people report feeling loved and supported. During her time as chaplain she reflected, “I’ve had a woman say to me…’I am sure this is hard to believe but this has been the favorite time of my life. Because I had no idea how much I was loved until I needed people. And I have been so comforted, uplifted by the people who send me flowers and notes. It’s been so great to feel this connected. I didn’t always feel that connected in my day-to-day life.’“

More commonly, there are unresolved issues that keep people up at night. Sometimes they can identify the issues right away, or sometimes it takes some guiding questions from the chaplain.

Just to keep things simple, chaplains check in with the people on their continuum of peace and distress. How peaceful do they feel about their relationships with people? Are there any relationships that are causing distress?

They also listen intently for how content they are with themselves; about their choices and how they have lived their lives.

During the conversation, they may look for clues about their comfort with the transcendent. If they don’t hear it naturally, the chaplain may ask them if they have a faith tradition and if they still have any lingering questions.  Questions about purpose and meaning come up quite frequently.

The work of a chaplain is not to provide all the answers, but to walk alongside the person as they contemplate these questions, seek clarity of who they are and decide what they want going forward.

At Hosparus Health, we believe in caring for the whole person, mind, body, and spirit, our chaplains are vital to accomplishing this goal for a patient and their family. Spiritual care is part of our many services, to learn more or see if we can help you, reach out to us, 800-264-0521.

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