Spiritual Care Week Activities Foster Understanding

Spiritual Care's role in the healing process celebrated

 “One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is that education and knowledge lead to more tolerance for others,” said Robert Basom, CVPH Interfaith Chaplain. “A lack of understanding can lead to prejudice toward other faiths, other cultures.”

With that thought in mind, Chaplain Bob invited Rabbi Kari Tuling of Temple Beth Israel and leaders of the local Baha’i faith, Lynn Neale and Joanne Britner to discuss their faith as a way to foster a better understanding of the needs of these patients and their families.  The two programs and another about caring for those with dementia are part of a week-long celebration of Spiritual Care Week, which runs Oct. 16-22 and focuses on “Spiritual Resilience.”  The week also acknowledges the roles that Chaplain Basom and Fr. William Reamer, Roman Catholic Priest play in the overall health care of patients and family.

“Spiritual resilience refers to our ability to navigate through, or recover from, life’s most challenging moments,” Basom said. “It finds its roots in one’s sense of spirituality and related practices, religion or beliefs, values and outlook.”  “Spiritual Care Week provides a unique opportunity to both have a conversation to address suffering related to loss and trauma and to seek opportunities for strengthening spiritual resilience amid them,” Basom said.

“Spiritual healing goes hand-in-hand with the medical treatment patients receive at CVPH,” he added. “No matter what a person’s spiritual beliefs or faith may be, supporting those beliefs can be an important part of a person’s overall health care.”

Chaplain Bob and Fr. William Reamer, who is assigned to the hospital by the Ogdensburg Diocese, are our spiritual care leaders. They support patient, families and staff by providing spiritual and religious ministries and support community clergy with their membership visitation. Patients who desire a visit from a clergy member can ask their nurse and the appropriate on-call clergyman will be called.   In emergent situations, especially in critical care areas and the Emergency Department, they may be called on behalf of the patient or their families by the care team.

They’re supported by a number of volunteers. Some, like the 6 Spiritual Caregivers offer support and fellowship to patients as requested.  Eucharistic Ministers, affiliated with local Catholic churches, bring the Eucharist on Mondays to each floor. Local clergy are also invited and encouraged to visit their parishioners during their stay in the hospital. 

While the Interfaith Chapel, located on the second floor of the hospital near the FitzPatrick Cancer Center, is the anchor of the Spiritual Care Department, much of the service is provided at the bedside or on the nursing units.  The Chapel is open to all for prayer and quiet reflection. It’s sometime used for special events and a Roman Catholic Mass is celebrated there each Friday afternoon at 1:30.  

The Spiritual Care Department is part of our Integrative Therapy initiative focused on offering patients, staff and providers the opportunity to include evidence-based holistic therapies into their health care plan. Integrative Therapies, like Spiritual Care, address the mind, body and spirit and ultimately boost the healing process.  Also offered are Palliative Care, Pet Therapy, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Healing Touch, Myofacial Release, Art & Music Appreciation.

Religious items available for patients to assist them in their spiritual journey during their stay at the hospital include rosaries, Shabbat and Hanukkah (electric) candles, religious writings from various faiths and prayer mats. Bibles on hand include regular print copies of the New Testament and Psalms, large print King James and New International Bibles, CDs of the King James Bible and the Koran (Arabic), the Baha'i Prayer Book and the Book of Mormon. All can be borrowed by patients and staff by contacting Chaplain Bob, a staff member or dialing the hospital switchboard.