Hospice and Spiritual Care

In seeking to provide holistic care for patients and families, AseraCare Hospice goes above and beyond to accommodate the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of those whom we serve. Spiritual care coordinators will visit each patient in order to complete a spiritual assessment. The patient’s primary caregiver, power of attorney or court-appointed guardian may be able to complete the assessment in place of the patient if needed. The assessment is used by AseraCare Hospice to give the staff a better understanding of the patient and his or her family’s religious preferences and the role of faith in their life, as well as a tool to help cope with the struggles that can accompany life-limiting illness. The assessment is not a judgment upon one’s faith choices, but a tool that is useful in providing additional resources as the patient and family desire them.

Typical assessment questions include:

  • Is there a faith community offering support?
  • Is there a pastor/priest/rabbi/imam or other faith community leader available to them?
  • What faith traditions and rites are important to them?

Faith Community Support

A group of people that play an important role in providing spiritual care at AseraCare Hospice are known as faith community support people. These individuals represent a wide variety of religious faiths and traditions. They have agreed to offer their services to those who wish to speak to a representative of a faith community that may more closely reflect that of the individual facing a life-limiting illness, or their family. They have agreed to be available for visitation, prayer and offering the rites of their respective traditions. Please check with a spiritual care coordinator for additional information concerning which traditions are represented in your area by a faith community support person. If one is not available, efforts will be made to obtain one for you.

The AseraCare Spiritual Care Coordinator will contact patients in their private residence within five calendar days of the service start date to schedule an initial visit. Patients in nursing or personal care facilities will automatically receive the initial visit within five days of the service start date. Following the visit and assessment, the coordinator will establish a schedule of visitation for each patient who desires to be visited. Also, contact will be made with an individual’s faith community leader to coordinate spiritual support upon approval from the patient and family. Many patients receive one to two visits each month. The number of visits may vary depending on the patient and family’s requests and needs. Each visit is adapted to the patient’s abilities and desires. For patients unable to communicate, a visit may focus on the sharing of scripture, prayer and ministry of presence.

For those able to communicate, a visit may include:

  • General conversation
  • Discussion of spiritual concerns
  • Family issues
  • General concerns
  • Sharing of scripture
  • Music and prayer

Religious Rituals

Individuals and families facing a life-limiting illness may find comfort in the rites of their various faith and denominational traditions. Listed below are some of the commonly requested sacraments, rites and services that have been offered by spiritual care staff . They are listed by common name and then by alternative name(s). Individuals and families may request rites and services that are not listed below. Every eff ort will be made to fulfill each request.

  • Baptism
  • Life Rededication
  • Commendation of the Dying
  • Confession and Forgiveness
  • Eucharist (Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Last Supper)
  • Laying on of Hands and Anointing of the Sick (ministration to the sick)
  • Order for Comforting Bereaved (following death)
  • Funeral/Memorial Service

During spiritual visits, patients and their families may request that sacraments and religious rites be performed. Examples of some of the commonly requested rites and sacraments are listed in the Religious Rituals section of this booklet. Please remember that visits by the spiritual care coordinator are offered as a service. Patients and families are able to cancel a visit or forgo services at any time. Services may be reestablished as long as the individual continues as a patient with AseraCare Hospice.

Spiritual Care Volunteers

Spiritual care volunteers help to supplement the work of spiritual care coordinators by providing additional support and a listening ear for patients and their families. During visits, they are available to pray, read aloud the individual’s sacred scriptures and assist with affirming beliefs. In addition, spiritual care volunteers provide often needed companionship and emotional support. They are also available to provide relief to caregivers for brief periods of time. Arrangements for spiritual care volunteers may be done during the signing of consent at the time of admission to the program by contacting the spiritual care coordinator, or by contacting the volunteer coordinator.

If you are a surviving family member, we encourage you to wait a minimum of one year following the patient’s death to serve as a direct care volunteer or in public relations activities.

Please contact AseraCare Hospice for additional information, to arrange a visit with a spiritual care coordinator.