Medwatch: What a Hospice Chaplain’s job entails

Medwatch: What a Hospice Chaplain’s job entails

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - When we think about hospice, many people often think about the doctor and nurse, and maybe even the social worker that will be coming in and taking care of the loved one, but a chaplain is also part of that team.

Chaplain Daniel Litchford joined Comanche County Memorial Hospital’s hospice program last October. In his time there, he said he has seen how important it is for families to not hold off on getting their loved ones the care they need through hospice.

“I think families are often reluctant to reach out and engage with hospice just out of fear of what that means,” he said. “We appreciate being involved as early as we can so that we can make sure patients and families have what they need so that those precious moments can be focused on what is helpful and really meaningful for a family.”

Not only does hospice focus on the patient, but they also help the family in different ways. Hospice at CCMH takes a team approach. Litchford said he meets with the nurses, doctors, and their social worker regularly.

“We recognize that there are layers to their needs, and as one might say, there is body, mind, and spirit,” Litchford said. “Where there are physical, emotional needs, spiritual needs. As an interdisciplinary team, we work through all those layers, to the best of our ability, to make sure that the suffering of our families and patients can be alleviated some. When we say, a patient or family is suffering, there are usually multiple levels to that, and we work to reach through all those levels.”

As a chaplain, he wants to be there for the family whenever they may need him. Sometimes he is asked to come read scripture, talk, pray, or just simply talk to them on the phone.

“This community is home to me in many ways, and I have enjoyed through the years at my service here being involved in a very diverse community. As a chaplain, I love how the community we serve is diverse - ethnicity, culturally, religiously, and as a chaplain, I have no agenda other than just trying to provide emotional and spiritual support as they request and as they have need.”

Hospice can be requested by a doctor, or families can call and request them.

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