Spiritual Care for Victims of Crime – Making a Difference

University Hospital has implemented a new program that employs UH-based Chaplains to provide emotional and spiritual support for victims of crime and their families. Their services are available to all who seek it, regardless of individual religious or spiritual beliefs. Chaplains visit patients to provide a listening ear and offer comfort, prayer, and/or other religious support upon request. For family members, they offer comfort and support while they wait for news and during difficult decision-making processes, such as end of life decisions. Often, Chaplains are also providing bereavement support such as follow-up calls, visits, group counseling, and religious services. Importantly, the Chaplains also offer support for UH staff providing medical care for victims of crime within an especially high stress environment. Below are testimonials from three staff members on the impact the Chaplains have on their work.

“The spiritual care team has been a tremendous asset. In a Trauma Department, we see so much pain, hurt, and human tragedy. Very often, what we go through as staff members is dealt with silently, but now it is great that we have someone we can debrief with and share the emotions that we feel ourselves. Just this past Sunday when a patient died, one of our young physicians was in tears, and a chaplain was there to provide support for her. This is the collaborative and supportive environment that our Chaplains provide. We are grateful that our Chaplains are here and that they will continue to provide great service to our patients, families, and staff.” – Katy, Nurse

“The Chaplains are a wonderful asset to our facility. The patients really find comfort in them. They offer prayer and most patients take them up on it. They always sit and speak with patients and are a big advocate for them. They also speak to the trauma nurses and advocate for the patients, trying to get them what they need. They are genuinely caring people, and a wonderful asset to our team. I’m feel very happy to have Chaplains on call.” – Hernan, Patient Relations

“One day I had three deaths. I had a 97-year-old who came in and went into cardiac arrest almost immediately. Within 2 minutes, the Chaplain was there and prayed with the family and sang songs. She died shortly after. It was a sad moment, but also beautiful to have that support. Later we had another death, and another Chaplain was there to help me debrief and offer the entire team support. I was so grateful to have him there and I felt supported. The Chaplains have been such a tremendous asset to our team and our patients and families. Their constant support is palpable.” – Courtney, Patient Relations