Kansas City VA Medical Center
Mission of Chaplain Practice
In the development and maintenance of a program of spiritual health care in a pluralistic setting, the Chaplain Team recognizes the importance and value of spiritual health care in the overall care and treatment of patients, their support community of family, friends, and hospital staff. The mission of the team is to plan, develop, implement and evaluate a program of spiritual health care consistent with the greater mission of healthcare delivery in VHA and the KCVAMC. The KCVA Chaplain Team Mission is accomplished through the work of Clinical Chaplains, Contract/Fee Basis Chaplains, Clinical Pastoral Education Students, community clergy when appropriate, and volunteers supervised by chaplains
The Chaplain Team mission is accomplished through spiritual assessment and diagnosis, pastoral care and counseling, and worship opportunities for inpatients and outpatients. Patients range in age from young adults to the very old. Specific activities include, but are not limited to: spiritual assessments, individual and group spiritual and/or religious counseling, education in spirituality, bereavement counseling, public services of worship, including funerals and memorial services, and opportunities for ordinances, sacramental/ritualistic ministries and services for inpatients, outpatients, their relatives/friends, and staff. Pastoral care is also available to all staff in the medical center. Chaplains assist with patient education and counseling regarding advance directives, tissue and organ donation.
Scope of Care/Service
The Chaplain Team provides high quality care to inpatients and outpatients of this medical center. Patient care is provided on a continuing basis for eligible veterans and others with medical, surgical and psychiatric conditions in the context of which religious/spiritual issues are manifested.
The great majority of our patients are male and over 60 years of age. Patients are seen with the full range of acute, sub-acute, and chronic physical and mental illnesses. Many of our patients are not active religious practitioners; so many patients are in the hospital without clergy or other spiritual support person, which means they have no one in their lives to address their spiritual needs during the crisis of hospitalization. Their needs may represent spiritual injuries that include grief/loss, guilt/shame, alienation from a Higher Power, abandonment, anger/resentment issues and/or other concerns. Spiritual care is provided to the patient as well as his/her family support system; however, many of our patients have no family or they are estranged from them, which creates increased support needs across the admission/discharge planning spectrum.
Chaplains will be available for spiritual care needs throughout the medical center, with priority given to areas of highest clinical acuity. Routine visits are made to newly admitted patients and in outpatient clinics, to pre-op patients, and visits are made in response to staff referral, with priority given to patients in critical care and/or at end of life. Routine response is 48 hours, with immediate (within 30 minutes) response in emergent circumstances. Chaplains attend dying patients and provide supportive spiritual care to the patient’s family and friends as well. Chaplains facilitate spiritual education and counseling groups in the variety of mental health settings. Chaplain ministry will not be imposed upon those who decline it, and no efforts will be made by chaplains nor allowed by visiting clergy to proselytize patients to the clergyperson’s religious beliefs and practice
Chaplains work closely with clinical and administrative personnel throughout the medical center, especially interdisciplinary treatment teams and other direct patient care programs. A chaplain’s role and function may vary depending upon the program(s) or unit(s) where the chaplain practices. In any clinical setting, however, the primary goal of the Chaplain Team is to provide for the spiritual health of the patients and their families. The chaplain may be called upon to provide:
• pastoral ministry to individual patients experiencing spiritual injury or crisis, which will involve establishing a relationships with those patients;
• ministry to patients and their relatives/friends in crisis situations;
• opportunities for religious worship in an appropriate setting;
• pastoral care for patients in the interdisciplinary care team context; and
• education in spiritual and religious issues as part of the treatment plan.
Methods Used to Assess and Meet Patient’s Care Needs
Chaplain professionals practice through a variety of activities addressing the care goals of:
• accurately diagnosing the spiritual injury,
• utilizing the spiritual assessment for intervention, and
• developing and implementing a plan for the patient’s spiritual health care.
Chaplains also are responsible for educating patients in the meaning of their spiritual injury and methods of effective spiritual self-care. Methods for meeting these needs include direct inpatient care, follow-up and supplemental care in outpatient clinics, and consultation with other disciplines and teams in efforts of holistic patient care.
Kansas City VA
- 816-861-4700 Ext. 52180
Hours of Operation
- 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.