Ministering to the Sick “Transforming lives and communities – one

Ministering to the Sick
“Transforming lives and communities
through health and wellness – one
person at a time.”
America Still Believes
• 9 out of 10 Americans still say “yes” when
asked, “Do you believe in God”?
• 83% of all Americans still label themselves as
• 80% said that religious faith is somewhat
important in their daily lives
“Dying is a spiritual endeavor with medical
Gwendolyn London
According to pollster George H. Gallup
“…the American people want to reclaim
and reassert the spiritual dimension in
When asked, patients considered the following the
most important factors at the end of life:
• Freedom from pain – Be at peace with God
Not be a burden to family
Be able to help others
Have funeral arrangements planned
Not be a burden to society
Feel one’s life is complete
Steinhauser, KE, et al. JAMA 284:2476-2482, 2000
Patients Open to Support
Many patients facing end of life who are fully
informed as to their condition and options for
treatment generally opt for less effort to
prolonging their lives and more attention to
matters of the spirit
When Medicine and Faith
• 41% of patients can think of a time when religious beliefs
influenced a health care decision they had made.
• Only half report having such a discussion and only 8%
have this discussion with a doctor
• 91% of physicians agree that it is appropriate to discuss
religious issues when the patient brings them up.
• 55% feel it is appropriate to proactively address a
patient’s religious concerns.
Only 10% of physicians report doing so on a regular basis
Tanenbaum Institute, Center for Interreligious Understanding
Medical Staff & Hospital Clergy
• An alarming 72% of patients reported that
their spiritual needs were met to a small
extent or not at all by the medical system.
» (Balboni 2007, 25:555ff)
Supporting our Congregations
• When asked how well they felt their Spiritual leaders have
prepared them to face the practical issues surrounding
death, almost 70% felt they were not prepared at all or very
• 61% thought that they needed further teaching by their
spiritual community to face end-of-life issues
• Patients report their spiritual needs were met by their
religious community only 38% of the time, with 40%
saying their needs were met to a small extent or not at all
Leading the Way
For most of history the Church taught the
“Ars Moriendi” – The Art of Dying
• Guidelines for clergy and laypeople
– Prayers
– Attitudes
– Actions
Lead to a “good death” and salvation
Preparing Our Congregations
Establish or re-establish what “our” faith
teaches in relationship to sickness in the
following areas:
Letting Go/Surrender
• Doctrine Specific Topics:
– Suffering
– Healing/Miracles
– Prayer, answered and
– The ministry of caring for
the sick and dying,
visitation, and ministry to
the bereaved
What Will It Take
• Partnerships in Care
– Better communication & integration between
medical personnel, hospital chaplains,
community clergy
– Education
• Clergy: The medical side
• Providers: The Spiritual side
– Greater involvement from Community Clergy
• Family meetings, Bedside support
Trigger Topic
• 15 areas within healthcare where religion
often comes up:
Dietary Requirements
Acceptance of Drugs &
Dress & Modesty
Reproductive Health
Blood and Blood
Pregnancy & Birth
Conscience Rules
Informed Consent
Organ Transplant and
Prayer with Patience
Observance of Holy
Days & Rituals
End of Life
Next Steps
• Consider:
– Becoming an “Associate Chaplain” at your
local hospital
– Attend an Advance Care Planning Facilitator
– Develop a Health Ministry Team in your local
• Faith Community Nursing
“While I thought I was learning how to live, I
have been learning how to die.”
Leonardo de Vinci
Our Call:
Help Them Finish Well
For I am already being poured out as a drink
offering, and the time of my departure has come. I
have fought the good fight, I have finished the
course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is
laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which
the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on
that day; and not only to me, but also to all who
have loved His appearing.