Mayo Clinic Health System has expanded its pastoral care services to include Fairmont, Minn., in addition to the pastoral care programs available at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, New Prague, St. James, Springfield and Waseca, Minn. Delivered by a team of 94 clinically trained specialists and support staff, Mayo Clinic Health System’s pastoral care services enable hospitalized patients and their families to benefit from emotional and spiritual assistance during times of major health care crisis. The recent expansion of staff and services also allows additional regional pastoral care staff to quickly mobilize and respond to community-wide disasters.
“We provide a listening ear and comforting presence to people during what can be very difficult times in their lives,” says chaplain Gary Creech, regional director of pastoral care for Mayo Clinic Health System. “Our pastoral care services help patients achieve peace of mind, which is critical when facing physical and emotional challenges.”
Mayo Clinic Health System supplies pastoral care services at no cost to patients and their families. The services, including training of chaplains, and expansion of services are largely funded through private donations to the Mayo Clinic Health System Fairmont Foundation.
Pastoral care at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont was expanded in July 2011 to include services delivered by onsite chaplains Ray Sherwood and Russ Steele; clinical pastoral education student Kathy Blair; associate chaplains Tony Fink, Marlowe Potter and Steve Witmer; and lead chaplain Richard Abel. “The Fairmont pastoral care team delivers services to our hospitalized patients, plus we make regular visits to the Lutz Wing Nursing Home,” says Abel.
“Mayo Clinic Health System embraces an interdisciplinary care team approach that addresses all aspects of a patient’s care and well-being,” says Creech. “Our trained specialists are available 24/7 to meet patients’ emotional and spiritual needs. It’s part of our broader mission to inspire hope.” The most common requests for pastoral care are related to issues involving anxiety, bad news, births, complaints, death, depression, ethical issues, mediation and spiritual crises.
Pastoral care providers help people from all religious backgrounds. “We’re there to support patients. Our goal is to comfort, not convert. We meet patients where they are at spiritually,” adds Creech.
“Patients and their families frequently tell us what a difference a chaplain’s visit makes,” says Creech. “They tell us they feel better and can better handle the stresses of their situation. This resiliency has a positive effect on their healing.”
For more information about the Mayo Clinic Health System pastoral care program, please call 507-238-8100.