Friends of New London Hospital November/December 2012
Spiritual Care continued from page 1
Spiritual Care is the gift
of helping individuals tap
into their strengths and
use those strengths to get
through a crisis.”
NLH Chaplain Cheryl Fitzgerald
that discusses residents’ thoughts for a “thankfulness”
book, many residents participate in Life Reviews.
A volunteer meets with an individual resident several
times and tapes the resident’s life story in his/her own
voice. The story is then burned to a CD and copies
of the CD are shared with the resident’s family. One
resident used the opportunity of the Life Review to tell
her children she loved them and how proud she was
of them, something she had always found difficult
to say face to face. “It’s my version
of narrative medicine,” explained
Cheryl. “Telling your life story is so
positive. It is essentially a validation
of a life.”
In addition to meeting with
residents individually each day,
Cheryl believes the Spiritual
Care Program must reach out
to caregivers. Family members who
visit frequently are a support group
for many patients who are living
through a life-changing experience. As Chaplain, she is
available to all family members, helping children accept
a parent’s life in the Clough Center and supporting the
family’s choices for care. Often, Cheryl helps refocus
and reframe a situation that a family is struggling with
concerning their loved one and helps the family return
to a sense of balance.
Cheryl finds her own spiritual resources and balance
through meditation, her faith, yoga, taking classes,
and exercise. As a Hospice Chaplain, she has also
taught a class on end-of-life issues for Adventures
in Learning. She likes to point out that she gained
much life experience raising her five children, teaching
middle school, and eventually getting a master’s degree
in theology. She completed her certification in Clinical
Pastoral Education at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical
Center and is a Pastoral Minister.
The success of New London
Hospital’s Spiritual Care Program
is due to the relationships among
all the professionals who care for
our patients. The Chaplain works
closely with nurses, social workers,
emergency department staff,
physicians, and Clough Center
staff. In all encounters, the
Chaplain listens with respect
and is non-judgmental and gathers
the information to then assist the patient, family,
or resident live through a time when their lives have
been turned upside down.
For more information about the Spiritual Care Program
at New London Hospital or to reach the Chaplain,
please call
Supporting patients and their families with their choices for care.