What Is Spiritual Care?

All persons have spiritual needs. Some persons have religious needs. The Pastoral Care Services Department works to help patients, family members and staff address both spiritual and religious needs.

What do we mean by "spiritual needs"?

Spiritual needs and concerns usually relate to what we call the "big" questions of life. These questions can include:

  • Why is this happening? Why is it happening to me?
  • What does it all mean?
  • How do I make sense of everything?
  • How do I feel about changes in my life?
  • What gives me comfort and hope?
  • What do I call "good" in my life? What do I call "bad"?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What do I trust? Who do I trust?
  • Who is my "beloved community" -- who loves me and is loved by me, no matter what?
  • What or who -- beyond myself -- do I believe is important in my life?

All of these questions relate to spiritual needs, concerns and resources. All people ask these questions during their lives, especially when they or someone they love are sick or in crisis.

Some people find meaning, comfort, hope, goodness and community through their religious practice, beliefs and/or community of faith. Some people do not. Regardless of whether religious faith is a part of a person's life, spiritual concerns, resources and needs can still be very important, especially during hospitalization.

What do we mean by "spiritual resources"?

Spiritual resources are practices, beliefs, objects and/or relationships that people often turn to for help in times of crisis or concern.

Some spiritual resources include:

  • Music
  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Family and friends
  • Religious leaders
    • Priest, Rabbi, Imam
  • Supportive communities
  • Church, Synagogue, other support groups
  • Holy writings/scripture
    • Bible, Torah, Qur'an
  • Inspirational writings
    • Poetry, Devotional Materials, Prayer Books
  • Religion-specific items
    • Sabbath menorah, rosary beads, devotional pictures, prayer rug
  • Sacramental practices
    • Communion, Anointing

These resources can help people return to a sense of balance when their lives have been turned upside down. They can help people sort out the "big" questions in order to find meaning, comfort, hope, goodness and community in the midst of a crisis.

What do spiritual needs and resources have to do with being in the hospital?

There have been numerous studies conducted over the past 50 years that show a person's health and well-being benefits when his or her spiritual needs are addressed. Some benefits include:

  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Improved pain management
  • Improved experience of their stay
  • Improved motivation to complete the tasks of healing
  • Improved management of cardiovascular needs (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure)
  • Improved sense of well-being

If you would like to talk with someone about your spiritual needs or resources, or simply connect with someone who is ready to listen to your concerns with empathy and support, please contact our office and ask to speak with a chaplain.

You may call our office at 410-328-6014. Someone will answer your call during business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. At other times, you may leave a message and we will make every effort to return your call within 24 hours.

If you are a patient, or are visiting with a loved one in the hospital, please feel free to ask your nurse to page us. We are staffed, on-site, 24/7.

This page was last updated: April 30, 2013

         
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