The week of October 21-27th is Spiritual Care Week! This year's theme is "Hospitality: Cultivating Time." Hospice of the Valleys will celebrate its spiritual care providers with festivities, honors, and a luncheon on Wednesday the 24th. Spiritual care is an integral part of the hospice team. As a discipline, hospice care treats the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Spiritual care providers (also known as chaplains) are expert in the delicate art of providing spiritual and emotional care for the hospice patient and family. Hospice spiritual care providers are highly trained: they must be an ordained minister in a recognized denomination; they must hold an appropriate master's degree; and they must have completed a special form of training called clinical pastoral education. CPE, as it is known, is a highly supervised clinical training program which shapes, observes, and teaches chaplains as they are visiting actual patients in a hospice or health care setting. It is rigorous, filled with self-reflection and critique, and shapes chaplains who are especially sensitive to the needs, desires, and appropriate care of persons in a medical or clinical setting.
These special members of the hospice team must also have more than this professional clinical training: they must have a calling to this work of caring for the terminally ill; they must have a comfortability of self which allows for humility, grace, and ease of being with people; and they must have the special gifts of both being a good listener and one able to make a person feel at ease and loved. A deep personal spiritual journey and the ability to laugh are also highly prized!
I am privileged to work with two such gifted colleagues, both of whom have additional certification as bereavement counselors from the American Academy of Grief Counselors: Bill Koster and Mike Patton. My life is enriched by their gifts each day that we work together as a team, and I see, day in and day out, the true blessing they are to all our patients and families. Please join me the week of October 21-27, in honoring them. DO something nice for a chaplain you know, this week!
Rev. Dr. Lynn L. Euzenas, PHD, MDiv
Director of Spiritual Care
Hospice of the Valleys