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Chaplain Services are not only for patients

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  • Written By: Karen Clarke
Chaplain Services are not only for patients

In his 18 months at Campbell County Health, Chaplain Coordinator Donny Edwards has seen people from almost every faith tradition in the community come together with respect for each other and those they serve. His team of around 30 volunteers consists of everything from those with doctorates to laypeople. The chaplain program includes highly respected senior members of the pastoral community to 20-somethings with more progressive ideas toward their ministries. There are Associate Chaplains who specialize in specific care areas like long term care or hospice, and Abiders who sit with residents at The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center in their final days or hours.

Last year the Chaplain Services program made 7,305 visits with patients, families, and employees, and documented 466 referrals in the medical record. Chaplains take a week at a time and are on call 24/7, while Associate Chaplains and Abiders set their schedules around times that work for them.

Donny appreciates the support and acceptance he’s received from CCH, saying that chaplains are needed more than ever in today’s world because where and how people find meaning in their lives has become much more complicated. In the same way that nurses are trained in human anatomy and physiology, chaplains are trained to listen and help bring a sense of humanity to an environment that sometimes isn’t just or fair. He encourages employees to utilize chaplains too because working in a help-oriented world like healthcare comes with its own set of spiritual issues.

Donny wants to continue to grow the chaplain program to include more rounding on patients, recruiting a chaplain or associate chaplain for every neighborhood at The Legacy, and integrating the chaplains into the patient’s care team. He has regular training for chaplains, with an upcoming session planned to discuss fetal demise and code response. He introduces all his new chaplains to AIDET, saying it really takes the awkward first minute of a patient visit away.

For more information about Chaplain Services, feel free to contact Donny at 307-688-1540, or visit him in his office by the Emergency Department. And know that he always has a supply of tea for visitors.

  • Category: Chaplain Services, Employee Recognition, Volunteer