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Spiritual Care

Illness and the healing process require that we attend to the whole person – body, mind, emotions and spirit. To that end, the Department of Spiritual Care serves the spiritual needs of patients, their families and our staff through the ministry of staff chaplains. Chaplains and the patient’s own clergy are considered essential contributors to the interdisciplinary team. We also provide education to staff, spiritual care leaders in the community and the community at large.

What is spiritual care?

Our chaplains seek to help patients explore the meaning that they are giving to their illness – how their illness is effecting their lives, their relationships and when appropriate, their understanding of God or the transcendent.  We all wrestle with questions of fairness, human suffering, hope, etc.  Our chaplains are here to help the patient verbalize these in the context of their illness and healing process.

What do our chaplains do during a visit?

Chaplains are trained to do a spiritual assessment to help a patient identify their sources of potential conflicts and strengths during their time of illness. Depending on a patient’s individual needs, they will provide an intervention that may include listening to a patient’s story, prayer, journeying with patient to express their gratitude, sacrament, etc., in order to help the patient achieve equilibrium. The chaplain will then work in developing a care plan that best addresses the patient’s concerns. For example, the plan may include arranging a family meeting with the care team to identify the patient’s goals and make sure that the patient, their family and the team are in agreement. In providing spiritual care to patients and families, full regard is given to cultural and personal values, background, principles and beliefs. Additionally, chaplains can supply items such as a bible, Koran, rosary or Shabbat candle.   

When should someone request a chaplain?

Patients, family members or a staff member should call a chaplain when they:

  • receive a difficult diagnosis
  • are feeling anxious, shame, fear or guilt
  • are having surgery or a medical procedure
  • desire prayer
  • need to think through a decision
  • desire a rite, ritual or sacrament
  • want to celebrate good news
  • are asking transcendent questions such as, “Why?”

How to reach a chaplain

  • From 8 am to 4 pm, Monday - Friday, call 203-863-3146 (or extension 3146 within the hospital)
  • From 4 pm to 8 am, Monday - Friday, call 203-863-3000 (or "0" within the hospital for the operator to request a chaplain)
  • Patients may ask their nurse to contact a chaplain for them.

Spiritual Care Staff

The Spiritual Care Department provides chaplaincy coverage 24/7. Our chaplaincy staff consists of Roman Catholic priests, Protestant ministers and rabbis – all whom are also trained to serve in a multi-faith capacity to patients and staff.

All of our chaplains are certified by one of the following agencies - The Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), The National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC), Neshama: The Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC) or Clinical Pastoral Education International (CPEI).

Interfaith Chapel

Greenwich Hospital’s interfaith chapel and meditation room is always open for prayer, meditation and quiet time. We also offer religious, healing and memorial services.

  • Mass is celebrated on Sunday, Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon.
  • Mass is also offered on days of obligation.
  • Shabbat services are held on Fridays at 4 pm.
  • A healing service is conducted by our rabbi and Jewish Family Services every second Monday of the month at 12:15 pm.

All services may be seen through hospital television on Channel 75.

Memorial services and special events for staff are available upon request. Please contact the Director of Spiritual Care to inquire.

Clinical Pastoral Education

Greenwich Hospital provides training in pastoral care and counseling for clergy, seminarians, and qualified lay people through its Clinical Pastoral Education Program (CPE).

CPE enables the development of ministry skills in a clinical setting through interactions with patients, staff, peers and an educator.

The program is for those who wish to:

  • Enhance self-understanding and interpersonal relationships.
  • Learn skills in caring for the sick and dying.
  • Improve pastoral care skills.
  • Understand group behavior.

Learn more about the CPE Program including how to apply