How Spiritual Care at Premier Health Helps Cancer Patients

Listening is a key part of spiritual care services offered by Premier Health chaplains to cancer patients and their families. Just by listening, chaplains help patients and their loved ones sort out the emotions, concerns and uncertainty that come with a cancer diagnosis.

Plus, caring and supportive listening enables chaplains to know what other assistance a patient and family may appreciate.

“The goal of spiritual care at Premier Health is to always focus on what the patient and family want and find helpful and supportive,” says Craig Schneider, Spiritual Care Division manager at Premier Health. “What spiritual care doesn’t do is tell people what they should do, think or feel.”

Premier Health chaplains serve patients of all faiths and backgrounds, including those without a faith tradition. Here’s how:

Serve as a sounding board. Chaplains, as they listen, give patients a chance to voice aloud their concerns and process their thoughts.

Schneider says it’s common for people to re-examine their priorities when they’ve been diagnosed with cancer. “They often ask themselves, ‘What is most important right now?’ and ‘Am I investing my time and energies in the right activities and people?’”

He adds, “We don’t tell people what they should or shouldn’t do. Patients and families need someone to bounce ideas off of as they decide what is best for them.”

Provide affirmation. “When you have something as concerning as a cancer diagnosis, it’s normal to have feelings that bounce all over the place,” Schneider explains. Chaplains help people see that their thoughts and fears are normal.

Chaplains also help patients and family to consider other difficult life experiences they’ve been through. “We help people remember the strengths that they have within themselves — strengths that have helped them through other difficult situations.”

Promote the use of faith and spiritual resources. In talking with patients and families, Premier Health chaplains determine what religious or spiritual practices patients and their families find helpful. This knowledge then informs how chaplains work with and provide support for these persons. Supportive care might include prayer, helping a patient connect or reconnect with their church or faith community, making arrangements for a patient to receive sacraments such as confession or communion, providing inspirational or devotional resources, or helping a patient find a support group.

And again, patients may just need a listening ear. Schneider says they may be pondering questions such as, “How is my connection with God? Is my relationship with God where I want it to be? Do I have broken relationships with others that I need to mend? Why is all this happening to me? What am I supposed to learn from this?”

Help relieve stress. Stress and anxiety naturally accompany a cancer diagnosis. Chaplains may teach patients relaxation exercises, guided imagery exercises, or offer other stress management tools to help manage stress. They also refer patients to cancer support groups available through Premier Health. “Folks going through cancer provide some of the best support for each other because they know exactly what the experience is like,” Schneider says.

Premier Health chaplains are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and serve cancer patients and their families who are receiving inpatient care, outpatient treatment and participating in Premier Health support groups.

Source: Craig Schneider, Spiritual Care Division Manager, Premier Health

Content Updated: July 18, 2018

These Premier Health locations offer Cancer Care Services.
Each location may offer different or additional services, so contact a location below to learn more about the specific services they offer.
200 Medical Center Dr. Fourth Floor Middletown, OH  45005
Looking for a specific department or phone number?
Visit one of the above locations for contact information, or browse the Premier Health Directory.
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