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Health Prog. 1990 Mar;71(2):58-60.

The renaissance of pastoral care.

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  • 1Catholic Health Association, St. Louis.


Administrators are finding pastoral care has a future, and a vital one. Without question, the chaplaincy of the future will not be the same as the chaplaincy of the past. Its theology will remain a constant, and its roots will hold fast, but the services will change, along with the healthcare environment in which it operates. If it wants to be an integral part of the clinical team, pastoral care must address three critical areas: spirituality, outreach, and accountability. Healing is spiritual. The meaning and purpose patients find in life, as well as their involvement with the spiritual, are key healing indicators in their treatment. As the spirituality movement articulates its value within the practice of medicine, pastoral care departments are likely to be its principal catalysts. Pastoral care departments are reassessing their ability-and the need-to see every patient, and instead are identifying those patients who will most benefit from pastoral intervention. At the same time, pastoral care services are extending beyond the hospital and will be based in many other settings in the future. If pastoral care hopes to be indispensable in the healthcare setting, it must demonstrate that it makes a contribution and a difference. This requires developing and applying clinical standards to its ministry, as well as creating an empirical data base to substantiate the efficacy of pastoral care interventions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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