Healthcare Chaplains

Care provided after death:

Healthcare Chaplains are employed in each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts and are responsible for the delivery of religious, spiritual and pastoral care for all patients and their families, including those with faith/beliefs and those with no declared faith.  Chaplains’ responsibilities include:

  • Providing care and support for dying patients and their families. They may be called at or around the time of death to offer prayers or conduct a service.
  • Contacting the family’s community faith representative to inform them of the death
  • Supporting staff and volunteers within the Trust following personal bereavement or after the death of a patient.
  • Helping arrange and participating in Trust remembrance services for patients and staff.

Works alongside:

  • Medical and nursing staff
  • Trust Bereavement Coordinators
  • Palliative care teams
  • Staff support organisations, for example, Occupational Health
  • Faith communities
  • Mental health services
  • Local and national chaplaincy organisations.

The Standard of Bereavement Care is enhanced when:

  • Patients’ wishes in relation to being visited by a Chaplain during their stay in hospital are sought from patient or next of kin on admission, and accurately recorded on the Patient Administration System.
  • Spiritual care is recognised as an integral dimension of the holistic care provided to patients and families around the time of death
  • Chaplains have opportunities to raise awareness with staff regarding the provision of spiritual care.
  • Chaplains are informed of the death of patients they have been visiting and are included in multi-disciplinary team debriefs that take place after death occurs.

Standards and Guidelines

Reference guidelines for staff working with Patients from Minority Ethnic Backgrounds (Racial Equality Good Practice Guide, Equality Commission, DHSSPSNI 2003)

Dealing with Suicide, the needs of clergy in providing pastoral care (Quigley, Mental Health Programme Commissioning Group, SHSSB, March 2009)

A Multi-faith/Belief Resource for Healthcare Staff (NIHCA 2011)

Code of Conduct for Healthcare Chaplains (UKBHC 2010) (DHSSPSNI 2011)

Policy for Patient Information Available to Visiting Clergy (NIHCA 2009)

Spiritual and Religious Care Capabilities and Competencies for Healthcare Chaplains (UKBHC 2009)

Standards for Healthcare Chaplains (UKBHC 2009)