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Do Chaplains Enhance End-of-Life Care?

May 12, 2021 | End of Life, Grief & Loss, Hospice Care

When a patient faces a medical crisis or end-of-life, their disease’s physical aspects are often the focus. Sometimes, this can cause their related emotional and spiritual pain to be overlooked. However, even though research is in its early stages, there is increasing evidence that correlates the spiritual support chaplains to a patient’s overall well-being. 

At WV Caring, our chaplains are important members of our hospice team. Our chaplains provide emotional and spiritual care for the patient and their families, help everyone process the end-of-life journey and provide needed spiritual support. Continue reading to learn more about how chaplains can enhance end-of-life care. 



A chaplain’s primary role is to provide spiritual care specific to their patients’ spiritual needs, questions and concerns. Even patients who may not have a spiritual affiliation can still benefit from a chaplain’s care. For example, one study of 46 million adults with no religious affiliation found the following:

  • 68 percent believed in God
  • 58 percent felt a connection with nature
  • 37 percent described themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious”
  • 21 percent prayed daily

WV Caring cares for patients from differing or no faith backgrounds to provide for any spiritual and emotional care needs they have at end-of-life. 



Many older adults would like to receive their care at home. Hospice can be provided wherever a patient lives, whether it be a residential home, nursing home, assisted living home or facility. Unfortunately, a high percentage of older adults die in hospitals and facilities receiving possibly unwanted treatments, life-saving measures and care. One study found that cancer patients who received spiritual care experienced higher quality end-of-life than patients who did not. Our goal is for our patients and their families to spend valuable time together for as long as possible and find peace with their journey. 



When terminally ill patients cope with serious illnesses, they often experience feelings of loss, emotional distress, fear and depression. The truth is, living with an advanced disease is challenging. Chaplains help patients by listening and having conversations that offer much-needed support, promote healing and offer encouragement. WV Caring has some of the best counselors and spiritual staff in the region. Our chaplains and other support staff, including social workers and bereavement staff will sit down with you or your loved one, lend an ear and compassionately help your entire family navigate this challenging emotional terrain. 



Chaplains also help patients and their family members understand their core values and concerns and align them with their health care goals. There is much to think about at end-of-life, especially if a patient is in an acute healthcare situation or has an advanced disease. Research has shown that chaplains spend a considerable amount of time dealing with these kinds of issues. Our chaplains at WV Caring help address any spiritual concerns you or your loved one may have. They will work with your hospice care team to align end-of-life wishes to treatment plans.  



At WV Caring, we want to make the end-of-life journey as comfortable as possible. Our highly skilled hospice care team of local professionals includes physicians, nurses, clinical nursing assistants, social workers, grief and loss counselors, chaplains and volunteers. From beginning to end, our team is here for you and your loved ones. 

If you or a loved one is questioning whether it is the right time to look at end-of-life care services, let us know.  We can answer any questions you or they may have. Contact us by calling 1-866-656-9790 or contact us online here.

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