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The Ministry of Presence: What is Spiritual Health and Why Does It Matter?

The Ministry of Presence: What is Spiritual Health and Why Does It Matter?

September 08, 2022

A 2021 article in the Harvard Medical School Primary Care Review examined numerous studies that show spirituality is closely associated with increased quality of life. Findings show that everyone from cancer survivors to palliative care patients indicated that spirituality was crucial to their care journey.

At Charter Healthcare, we believe providing whole-person care naturally includes taking your emotional and spiritual well-being into account when devising your personalized treatment plan. That’s why we prioritize offering the services of a spiritual counselor to our patients who are seeking additional comfort and guidance in their post-acute care.

Our chaplains offer an interfaith approach that can be either religious or non-religious. They can help with intense feelings you may be experiencing, such as grief, loss and difficulty coping. It is a specialized kind of ministry that meets you where you are whether you identify as religious, spiritual or neither.

The last week of October is Pastoral Care Week (also known as Spiritual Care Week), a time to recognize the value and impact that pastors and their ministries can have on the communities, organizations and individuals they serve. Pastor George Dzmiri, Charter’s Spiritual Counseling Director, recently shared some insights into what sets Charter’s spiritual services apart and how they can help patients navigating serious illnesses.

Q: How do the spiritual counselors on staff demonstrate the Charter difference?

A: At Charter, one thing we promote is that chaplains need to understand and help our patients and families process what they are going through at that moment. They serve as a source of comfort and are understanding and sensitive to others’ beliefs.

Q: How do you help someone who is not religious?

A: We are spiritual counselors. We deal with things in a deeper way and won’t interfere in a religious sense if that is what the patient prefers. We look to them for how we can best support their spiritual journey.

Q: Can you describe Charter’s approach to spiritual counseling?

A: We ask our patients what has the most meaning to them. We look at their spiritual “symbols” and strike up meaningful conversations, make connections and help them get through this time in a non-medical way. We play a supportive role at a deeper, soulful level.

Q: How does the work of Charter’s spiritual counselors influence the care journey?

A: While other members of the Charter team focus on the medical aspects of care, we’re different in that we are very focused on and sensitive to the religious and spiritual needs of the patient and family. This is incredibly important to us. We describe ourselves as spiritual caregivers. This can really make a difference for those we work with, especially at partnering facilities. The benefit we’ve seen is invaluable.

To learn how Charter’s chaplain services and spiritual counselors can help you,click here.