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Syringa Hospital chaplaincy program is 17 years strong

'Our goal is to enhance the level of care...'

Syringa Hospital

Syringa Hospital

— “Thank you for letting me serve for the past 17 years,” said Pastor Harold Gott, Grangeville Christian Church.

Gott addressed the board of Syringa Hospital and Clinics at its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Gott brought forward some changes in wording in the hospital chaplaincy paperwork. This was for information and discussion only as it’s not a policy or procedure on which to vote.

Gott said he moved to Grangeville in 1999. He had been involved in hospital chaplaincy in Oregon and began to discuss how to start a formal program in Grangeville. That was 17 years ago.

Gott explained the duties of the program often entail more than a simple visit.

“We also minister to the needs of the family,” he explained, and in cases where there has been a car accident, they also help locate lodging, clothing, food, organize rides and help with funeral planning if needed.

“Our goal is to enhance the level of care, all around, that Syringa patients receive,” he added. Gott said one of his goals as a hospital chaplain is to “be there enough so no one sees my presence as strange.”

Syringa chaplains sign the HIPAA patient privacy expectations, agree to offer appropriate pastoral care and are also vaccinated for the flu.

“We’re there to listen to the stories and make sure patients know it [what they say] matters,” Gott emphasized.

Board secretary Leta Strauss said though she supports the program, she wants to make sure the wishes of those who do not want a pastoral visit are followed.

“I think the service is invaluable,” she said. “I just want to make sure everyone is protected.”

CNO Alex Frei said upon admittance, a patient and/or their family is asked about religious affiliation and if they want a chaplain visit. Discussion ensued as to whether this should be visited later and the consensus was yes; sometimes a person is very sick upon being admitted, but later may change his mind.

“Sometimes we miss the wholistic approach and the spiritual aspect [of our care] can suffer,” Frei said. “This is an integral part of the care we offer.”

Maintenance supervisor and EMS worker Bill Spencer said the service is “very needed,” and he appreciated the support of the chaplains.

“Sometimes we go on a call and end up caring for the survivors,” Spencer said. “We relish the assistance from the chaplains.”


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