Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 11:39 am | Fair 71º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care Shines a Light on Chaplains, Spiritual Care at End of Life

Addressing spiritual needs can be as important as medical needs, especially in the final stages of life. Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care is proud to recognize its chaplains on staff, as well as volunteer spiritual caregivers, who take great care in providing crucial support to patients and family members during a health crisis or the final stages of life.

National Pastoral Care Appreciation Week is a time when VNHC raises awareness for and honors these individuals in the community, and shines a light on the important role spiritual care plays in the hospice work they do.

A chaplain is a vital member of the hospice team, along with the nurse, health aide, and social worker. This team approach provides a comprehensive experience for patients and their families, and the chaplains tackle perhaps the most profoundly complex issues of all – the patient’s spiritual needs. There are specific responsibilities assigned to chaplains during hospice. They offer compassion for a patient’s pain and suffering, assist the patient in seeking inner peace, advocate for the patient, help link to religious and spiritual resources in the community, and support hospice volunteers.

“We are called to listen to the needs of others,” said Sam Geli, a hospice chaplain with Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care. “The experience of facing death naturally evokes powerful emotions and questions, often involving faith, anger, hopes and fears. Whatever the need, the chaplain stands ready to respect, listen, appreciate, and simply be there. Being present for the patient is vital; sometimes simply holding a hand in silence with loving intention is what is required — a presence of support.”

VNHC is the only organization in Santa Barbara County to offer a Chaplaincy Apprentice Program, a 26-week spiritual care-giving program that educates those interested in becoming chaplains. In this training session, one of the program attendees is a volunteer chaplain who provides service for Santa Barbara Police and Fire Departments. The program is interfaith and works closely with closely with Professional Instruction for Ministry (PIM).

In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of spiritual care during end of life, VNHC is hosting two events that are free and open to the community to attend:

» Pastoral Care Week Educational Event occurred last Wednesday at Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care. The event honored four leaders in the community who provide Interfaith Pastoral Care: Dr. Carl Williams, retired family practice physician; Gloria Huerta, TV producer for Asi Esta Escrito (It is Written) and advocate for women against domestic violence; Don Waters, retired RN at Cottage, veteran and volunteer chaplain for VNHC; and Reginaldo Salcedo, Catholic priest and advocate for migrant worker rights.

These individuals are vital and valuable in that they are unpaid spiritual care providers and role models who donate their time, energy and heart in a variety of settings in Santa Barbara.

» Chaplaincy Apprentice Graduation from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 425 Arroyo Road in Santa Barbara. VNHC will recognize 15 graduates from eight diverse faith communities who will receive their chaplaincy apprentice certificates for having completed the 26-week training program to become volunteer chaplains. Maureen McFadden will speak, and a reception for graduates and their families will follow.

For more information about these spiritual care events or the Chaplaincy Apprentice Program at Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, please contact Geli at 805.690.6239 or [email protected].

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.


Special Reports

Heroin Rising
<p>Lizette Correa shares a moment with her 9-month-old daughter, Layla, outside their Goleta home. Correa is about to graduate from Project Recovery, a program of the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, and is determined to overcome her heroin addiction — for herself and for her daughter. “I look at her and I think ‘I need to be here for her and I need to show her an example, I don’t want her to see me and learn about drugs’,” she says.</p>

In Struggle to Get Clean, and Stay That Way, Young Mother Battles Heroin Addiction

Santa Barbara County sounds alarm as opiate drug use escalates, spreads into mainstream population
Safety Net Series
<p>Charles Condelos, a retired banker, regularly goes to the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics for his primary care and to renew his prescription for back pain medication. He says Dr. Charles Fenzi, who was treating him that day at the Westside Clinic, and Dr. Susan Lawton are some of the best people he’s ever met.</p>

Safety Net: Patchwork of Clinics Struggles to Keep Santa Barbara County Healthy

Clinics that take all comers a lifeline for low-income patients, with new health-care law about to feed even more into overburdened system. First in a series
Prescription for Abuse
<p>American Medical Response emergency medical technicians arrive at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with little time to spare for victims of prescription drug overdoses.</p>

Quiet Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse Taking a Toll on Santa Barbara County

Evidence of addiction shows an alarming escalation, Noozhawk finds in Prescription for Abuse special report
Mental Health
<p>Rich Detty and his late wife knew something was wrong with their son, Cliff, but were repeatedly stymied in their attempts to get him help from the mental health system. Cliff Detty, 46, died in April while in restraints at Santa Barbara County’s Psychiatric Health Facility.</p>

While Son Struggled with Mental Illness, Father Fought His Own Battle

Cliff Detty's death reveals scope, limitations of seemingly impenetrable mental health system. First in a series