Healthcare chaplaincy is offered as part of the care provision in hospitals, care centres and hospices. Healthcare chaplains can be both lay and ordained. Some are employed by hospitals and other healthcare providers; others are part of volunteer teams. They are always affirmed as chaplains by the Church and recognised as a chaplain by the healthcare organisation. Healthcare chaplains work to meet the spiritual and religious needs of people of all faiths and philosophies.

A healthcare chaplain will see a variety of situations in a day, from being with relatives at the bedside of an elderly relative who is dying, to taking part in a Multi Disciplinary Team meeting, baptizing an infant in the neonatal unit to offering advice to staff on care of a Jewish patient. The role can also involve organising and leading worship both in the chapel, or designated quiet space, on Sunday mornings, at festival times (e.g. Christmas) as well as bedside communions. Most chaplains work in teams with other Christian denominations and members of faith groups other than Christian.  

hospital-chaplaincyPrecious Moments

As a hospital chaplain I respond to whatever needs arise. Often it is sharing in the deepest moments of people’s lives as they come close to death, experience tragedy or are beset by anxiety. I am welcomed as a stranger and offer love, support and prayers hoping that they may find value & meaning in my time with them, sensing something of God’s comforting presence. My own life is constantly enriched by these precious moments.

One of my most treasured times was early in the morning, being called to an elderly regular church attender who admitted she had never truly believed but wanted to. As she came into the hospital on a trolley from the ambulance, she saw a bright light and sensed God in a new way. There at her bedside I was given the amazing privilege of bringing her to faith in Christ. It was beautiful.

Helen Fyall (hospital chaplain) 

knock-knockKnock, knock

I knock on the door and slide into the room.
You look at me from your bed, wondering who I am.
I look at you and smile, hoping to appear calm and friendly.

I explain who I am.
You look wary, but do not tell me to go away.
I ask if I can sit down. ‘How has your day been?’ You tell me.

And from this small beginning a plant begins to grow.
As you talk and I listen, we water the plant.
We never mention ‘God’ – but He is the one who makes the plant to grow.

Bob Whorton (hospice chaplain)

For more information check out our Chaplaincy Resources and Links and Chaplaincy Reading.

Check out these Chaplaincy Blog posts too:
Where is hope in the middle of a pandemic?
Hospice chaplains: journeying with life and death
Community Healthcare Chaplaincy

These pages may also be helpful:
Caring for those approaching death - chaplaincy and palliative care
The Methodist Podcast Episode 15
The Methodist Podcast Episode 13

These external links may also be of interest:
Healthcare (Free Churches Group)
Chaplains support NHS coronavirus medics giving end-of-life care
Chaplains on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic
Nursing students can talk about 'trauma' thanks to Listening Lounges
Hospital chaplains at the core of coronavirus care
Hospital chaplains describe their work in  pandemic
Coronavirus pandemic showed how much we need hospital chaplains
The incredible pain and heartbreaking loss hospital chaplains are seeing because of coronavirus
"Every day is so different": What is life like in the hospital spiritual care team
Covid-19: Ipswich and Colchester hospitals' unsung heroes of the pandemic

The Methodist Church is not responsible for any third party content linked to from this website.

You will find contact details on our Chaplaincy Contacts page.