Spiritual Care an important key to patient and family healthcare

For anyone who has had a stay in hospital or has had a family member in palliative care, sometimes all that is needed is a caring, listening person and that is where a Spiritual Care Provider can fill that need.

The Grey Bruce Spiritual Care Council established in 1977 is a non-profit charity that ministers to six hospitals of the the Grey Bruce Health Services, four hospitals in the South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Hanover & District Hospital and Chapman House Hospice.

At the recent Saugeen Shores Council virtual meeting, Southampton resident Pat Dobec presented the details of the program and ended with a challenge to Council and the community.

“Through the program, Spiritual Care Providers visit patients, family and staff at each location helping with those who may face uncertainty, life-changing decisions, loss or a range of unexpected emotions on a 24-hour call basis,” explained Dobec. “They are compassionate and multi-faith and are a neutral body working with the healthcare teams to provide support during times of perhaps emotional stress or end-of-life.”

During 2020, the team made over, 4000 contacts and, in 2021, 4,500.  Some Providers are CASC Certified Spiritual Care Practitioners, others have some CASC training and still others have a theological background and are local clergy.

Pastor Dar Rath services the Southampton and Wiarton Hospitals and was instrumental in the surgical cap making movement by volunteers for health care professionals during COVID-19. Rev. Anne Veyvara-Divinski is the Spiritual Care Provider at the Owen Sound Hospital and Rev. Jan Temple-Jones provides support at Chapman House Hospice on a regular basis.  Doug Lein, retired Saugeen Shores Police Officer, has also been a Spiritual Provider for more than four years.

One of their key roles is that of listening when people simply have a need to talk, while others include respecting and understanding various religions and cultures.

When it comes to funding for the Spiritual Care Council, it is dependent on a variety of sources that include grants, hospital foundations and individual donations.  Among the funding partners are the United Church of Canada, Community Foundation Grey Bruce and Chapman House Hospice. Of the revenue sources, 94.9% goes directly to front-line care and programming with only 5.1% used for administration.

“I was shocked at the low amount that funds this program,” said Dobec, “and, therefore, the goal for 2022 is to expand the donor base. One of the fundraisers we are implementing is “I care therefore I walk” for the month of February.  The winter fundraiser is to highlight the wonderful work and spiritual care given by our Providers because, truthfully, many people do not even know about the program.”

In the past, Dobec raised $6,500 for the Toronto General Hospital and the same amount for Southampton’s Saugeen Memorial Hospital.  This year, she is planning to virtually walk the 450km from Southampton to Toronto and back again with a goal of raising $20,000.  “I also want to install two Caring Benches, one in Southampton at the Town Hall and one in Port Elgin at Coulter Parkette, in June.

She challenged Council and others to donate in support of the Spiritual Care Providers by contacting her at patdobec@gmail.com or by calling the Spiritual Care office at 519-376-2121, ext. 2889 for donor sheets or donate on-line at: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/grey-bruce-spiritual-care-council, and Tax receipts will be issued for donations over $20.

“February can be boring, so let’s have some fun and I love a challenge,” she said and challenged Council to put together its own team to raise some funds for the Spiritual Care that is needed during hospitals stays and in hospice.

For more on the Spiritual Care Council and to view the entire presentation to Council … CLICK HERE