Chaplaincy in a COVID-19 world

. 1 min read
– “I just pray,” responded an RN when asked how she got through the code and death of a young man.
– “I imagine it’s my brother because it might be next week,” said a provider caring for a man in his 50s.
– “He’s my daddy; I know he’s sick, but he’s the only daddy I will ever have,” pleaded the daughter of a patient.
– “Can we check at security to make sure the family gets in since they don’t speak English?”
– “I don’t want them turned away because someone can’t understand them,” said the attending physician at the death of a patient.
– “I know she’s sick; can we just see her, please? asked the children and grandchildren of a patient when a facetime visit was offered.
These are some of the things you might hear in the halls of the hospital, from the ICU nurses, the attending physicians, and the family members of the patients. Thank yous come more frequently – for the help, for the snacks, the pizza… thank you for the cheerleading and the thanks coming from far and wide. When the hospital made the decision to close the doors to visitors (except for birth, death, and NICU) and non-essential staff and visitors, the tone of the hospital changed. In some ways it has felt eerily quiet, but in other ways it has felt blanketed in grace, wrapped by the love and power of the Holy Spirit (in my Christian faith). There’s a tenderness and vulnerability in the hallways, in the ER (which is usually tough as nails), in the COVID and non-COVID units. When a staff member finds themselves in tears, their team members are right there with encouragement. There continues to be laughter – it is the sound of life.
By Cathy Hall Stengel. The rest of the story …