Service Spotlight: Spiritual Care
When facing health care challenges, many patients and families turn to their faith for guidance and comfort.
Michigan Medicine supports these individuals by providing a dedicated group of chaplains that make up the Spiritual Care Department.
Twelve clinically-trained chaplains offer spiritual counseling, ritual support — such as communion, baptisms and anointings — worship services, bereavement consultations, crisis intervention and more 24 hours a day.
“The most common request we receive is for support during end of life,” said Rev. Lindsay Bona, the manager of Spiritual Care. “Sometimes it’s for the patients, and sometimes it’s for the families — but no matter who needs our assistance, we are there to make sure they have the guidance they need to cope with whatever challenges they may be facing.”
The chaplains represent Christian, Judaic and Islamic faiths but are sensitive and responsive to the individual needs of any patient or family member.
“We respect the differences between all religions and the traditions of any faith,” Bona said. “If a patient seeks spiritual support, faculty and staff should never hesitate to contact our department.”
Bona said the chaplains will likely be able to assist an individual no matter the request.
“One of the more unique requests we receive is for a smudging ritual — which is a Native American cleansing ritual,” Bona said. “Families have requested it at the time of birth, death or before a surgery. We are happy to serve the needs of our diverse population.”
In addition to assisting patients and families, the chaplains are also trained to support staff who work in high-stress areas such as the emergency department. Bona works with her canine partner Anna, a trained service dog, who helps patients and staff manage stress and anxiety.
While chaplains are available to visit patient rooms, Spiritual Care also manages two chapels on the Michigan Medicine campus. The chapels are open to all patients, families, visitors and staff, and are located in University Hospital (Room 2A215) and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital (Room 2780). Both are open 24 hours a day and host weekly religious services.