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Hospital chaplains stick to the heart of the job amid industry changes

A recent report from Religion News Service explored the changing landscape of healthcare and how hospital chaplains are adapting to ensure that patients receive the spiritual support they need.

“As our medical system grows more fast-paced, impersonal and complex, the hospital or health care chaplain’s role has been growing,” reported Amanda Abrams. “Many patients need help deciphering the best next steps. Practitioners, burned out by the same system, often benefit from working with chaplains.”

Abrams noted that chaplains are increasingly being rated by a wide range of measures, including better outcomes, lower costs and higher patient satisfaction. Rev. George Handzo, director of health services research and quality at the Healthcare Chaplaincy Network, told Religion News Services that “those who don’t demonstrate value will not be funded.”

Rev. Handzo, a key member of C-TAC’s Interfaith and Diversity Workgroup, went on to explain the challenges of illustrating the results of chaplains’ visits.

“We’ve never been focused on outcomes,” Rev. Handzo said. “‘We don’t have an agenda,’ you’ll often hear chaplains say.” Abrams wrote that chaplains have prided themselves on meeting patients where they are, rather than pushing for specific results.

The full story is available here.

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