Hospice chaplains are responsible for providing spiritual services to patients and family members on behalf of their organization. They are in charge of giving advice and resources to people of different ages, cultures, and beliefs. Hospice chaplains provide counseling services using their training in crisis intervention, as well as help train volunteers to assess spiritual concerns and needs of families. One of their main duties includes assessing the level of individuals' emotional and spiritual distress to provide the best possible advice.
In addition to developing strong relationships with people who seek their advice, hospice chaplains network with community clergy and congregations. They need to have extensive knowledge of (and commitment to) their hospice's philosophy of care. Other duties of hospice chaplains include following strict privacy regulations, respecting patient and family wishes, assisting families in making funeral arrangements and/or memorial service plans, and conducting services as needed. In addition, they provide emotional and spiritual support to other staff members when dealing with distressing circumstances. These professionals must undergo continuing education in patient counseling, including in areas such as dealing with ethical and religious dimensions of illness.
A master's degree in theology, divinity, or a related field is necessary for this position. In addition, previous experience in a chaplain capacity is often required or preferred. Religious and spiritual certifications are beneficial. Hospice chaplains must be organized individuals that pay close attention to the people with whom they interact with. They should also have excellent communication skills to convey spiritual ideas and concepts.
Hospice Chaplain Tasks
Interact with and build relationships with staff, clients and family members.
Document interactions, challenges and program attendance.
Work with community and care team to ensure care is in accord with patients' faith.
Connect clients to appropriate clergy and counseling opportunities, and facilitate referrals to the hospice.
Guide individuals and groups through grief and bereavement counseling and coping strategies.