What is HealthCare Chaplaincy?
HealthCare Chaplaincy is a national leader in the research, education and practice of spirit-centered palliative care, which reduces suffering and helps people with life-altering illness to live well and live fully. For 50 years, the Chaplaincy has helped more than five million patients, loved ones and staff—regardless of their religious affiliation—to find meaning and comfort. It collaborates with major medical institutions and other organizations, like the U.S. Navy and the Center to Advance Palliative Care, to foster public awareness and understanding of palliative care. HealthCare Chaplaincy is developing America’s first palliative care campus that will include a 120 unit enhanced assisted living residence, which will establish a best practice platform for a national demonstration research and education project to provide fully-integrated care to people with chronic and progressive illnesses.
What is professional, multifaith spiritual (or pastoral) care?
Professional multifaith spiritual (or pastoral) care contributes to effective, patient-centered health care. Through research, education, and practice, it helps people – regardless of religion or beliefs – deal constructively with the fundamental issues and questions that can be difficult to face when dealing with a health situation that has changed their life or that of a loved one. It helps people find meaning and comfort by drawing upon their personal source of strength.
What’s your mission?
To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare through the innovative ways chaplains promote and advance palliative care research, education and practice.
What’s your strategy to achieve your mission?
Over the next five years, HealthCare Chaplaincy will grow in importance as a global leader in the research, education, and practice of spirit-centered palliative care. It will:
- Expand its educational offerings to health care professionals and consumers
- Conduct quantitative and qualitative research on the impact of spiritual care for those receiving chaplaincy support in health care settings
- Develop and test new cost-effective models of care delivery
- Build and operate an innovative 120-unit enhanced assisted living residence for persons with serious, progressive illness
How do your chaplains help patients and their loved ones?
HealthCare Chaplaincy chaplains help people in stressful, life-changing, health situations – regardless of religion, beliefs, or culture – to find meaning and comfort by enabling them to identify and draw upon his or her own source of inner strength.
HealthCare Chaplaincy’s Jane Mather, recent Director of Chaplaincy Services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, describes the interaction between the chaplain and the person who is ill:
Our most fundamental human condition is that we come face to face with our own mortality. As chaplains, we walk into some dark places and help bring in light. We’re not afraid of their darkness. We don’t care who they are or who they’ve been. We want to be with them where they are.
We try to find common ground and a common language, speaking about hope, love, faith, relationships, family, regrets. Our goal is not to get them from one point to the other. Our goal is to help them identify where they want to go.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Montonye describes some of the ways that board certified chaplains contribute to better patient outcomes as part of the health care team:
When we enter the patient’s room, we seek to build trust in a matter of moments. We ask open-ended questions to assess what is most important to them and what they want to talk about. We take the lead from them and hear what’s unsaid. We have to be open, to listen to their voice, and watch their body language. We send a message back that we wish to connect with their experience at the deep human level. We too are open, are vulnerable, share their pain and go with them.
We shape the visit, not control it. We listen to what’s most important to you. How understand what’s going on with you. Where you find your hope. Where you find your support.
Healing is helped by helping the patient put his or her own spiritual resources at the point of need.
Patients may say, “I’ve lost my faith in God.” We help reconnect to a time when they had faith.
Or a patient may be in the Intensive Care Unit after a heart attack. He’s grieving about the loss of the life he had. Pastoral care meets him where he’s at. The patient now has someone who listens to his fears, concerns, and broken dreams. He’s going through a process. We talk it out. We help him get the grip on the situation so he’s a better place to comply with the medical regimen.
Read “Chaplains Stories of Healing” - first person stories of how they’ve helped people across a range of difficult situations
How do you help health care institutions?
HealthCare Chaplaincy manages and consults to chaplaincy services in health care institutions that perceive that professional chaplains cost-effectively raise patient and staff satisfaction. Clients include New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, North Shore University Hospital, the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and Mount Sinai Medical Center.
To learn how we can help your health care institution, please contact:
The Rev. George Handzo, BCC (Board Certified Chaplain)
Vice President, Chaplaincy Care Leadership & Practice
(212) 644-1111, ext. 234
What’s a board certified chaplain and how do they differ from other chaplains?
A board certified chaplain is a chaplain by profession and specially educated, qualified, and credentialed. He or she:
- Becomes board certified by one of the professional associations following at least 1600 hours of supervised clinical and academic education, and having demonstrated their competency and adherence to the professional code of ethics.
- Serves all people regardless of religion or beliefs – not solely those of the chaplain's own faith.
- Does not proselytize or promote the chaplain's own faith tradition.
- Works as an integrated member of the professional health care team.
- Is a trusted counselor who helps patients, family and staff find comfort and meaning from whatever is that person’s own source of spiritual strength.
- Is an objective mediator who helps defuse conflicts and crises that stem from miscommunication and differences in cultures and beliefs.
- Gains new skills through continuing professional education.
- Undergoes periodic peer review.
What educational programs do you offer and how does one apply?
HealthCare Chaplaincy is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Educators and offers basic and advanced clinical pastoral education courses to student chaplains, religious professionals and other adult learners interested in spirituality and health.
The Center for Continuing and Professional Education seeks to:
- Strengthen the pastoral care profession itself by educating scholars, educators, and leaders
- Expand knowledge of spiritual care in health care settings among health care professionals and others through continuing education courses
HealthCare Chaplaincy will develop courses in spiritual care and health for health care professionals and other consumers. The TIME Magazine cover story “How Faith Can Heal” (February 23, 2009 issue), stated, “Many scientists and theologians who study these matters advocate a system in which both pastoral and medical care are offered as parts of a whole.” More than 80 U.S. medical schools are now offering some coursework on spirituality.
Over the next five years, the Center for Continuing and Professional Education plans to:
- Develop doctoral and other post-graduate programs in collaboration with a university
- Initiate certification courses for pastoral care managers and directors
- Continue its academic programs to educate religious professionals and others
- Develop new programs in palliative education for health care professionals
- Continue to develop research and education on issues related to pastoral care in Judaism
- Establish a distance learning program
Click here for application information
What are your research resources?
The Spears Research Institute is committed to understanding the interaction between religion, spirituality and health and to enhancing the clinical practice and education of professional chaplains. Its members are pursuing four broad avenues of research:
- To uncover the mechanism through which spirituality and religion influence physical and mental health.
- To draw on theories from many fields to explore the connections among spiritual growth, suffering, and life purpose in order to develop a range of spiritual care interventions for patients and family members.
- To elucidate the spiritual needs of patients and families and how they can and should be met by professional chaplains.
- Continually to assess chaplains’ care and training to determine the best educational and clinical practices for professional chaplaincy
Since the establishment of the Spears Research Institute in 1998, its staff, working with chaplains as co-investigators, has published more than 70 articles on spirituality and health in peer-reviewed scientific and pastoral care journals. This research has been supported by generous contributions from several foundations including The John Templeton Foundation, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, and The Starr Foundation.
Over the next five years, the Spears Research Institute plans to:
- Develop new theory to better understand how and why pastoral care improves the health of individuals and how and why it enhances patients’ satisfaction with the health care process;
- Outcomes-based studies to demonstrate the efficacy of pastoral care;
- Studies on best practices and protocols to inform the education and management of chaplains, as well as the actual practice of chaplaincy, and the way chaplains are perceived within healthcare institutions
The Spears Research Institute currently reports to Academic Vice President Jackson Kytle, Ph.D.
Link to Search Library Catalog
Do you work with hospices?
Unfortunately, we do not work with hospices, although we have a great interest in palliative and end of life care and would very much like to offer our services to local hospices. The reason why is that while the Federal government does reimburse for spiritual services in hospices, the services must be provided directly by the hospice. The hospice cannot contract out the service to a third party provider like HealthCare Chaplaincy. This proviso is true of all hospice services, not just chaplaincy.
What’s your financial situation?
Audited Financial Statements
What’s your history?
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Who’s on your staff?
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Who’s on your Board of Trustees?
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How can I stay updated on what you do?
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How can I support your work?
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Who should I contact?
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