The primary goal of the initial visitor is to welcome patients and families to Loyola. In addition to an in-person welcome, the initial visitor provides verbal and written information about the Pastoral Care Department’s services. The following information about initial visits is included in the “Handbook for CPE Students”:
Priority of Initial Visits at LUMC as Foundation for Pastoral Care
As Loyola “also treats the human spirit,” LUHS administration requires a “pastoral touch,” an initial visit for every patient. Every chaplain, staff and student, is expected to make initial visits and assessments on the nursing units they are covering each day. Given both the multiple demands on chaplains’ time and the high turnover on many units, the chaplains (and the patients!) are well served by our part-time “Initial Visitors,” who are not certified chaplains but who do possess great people skills. They welcome patients and families and inform them of the Pastoral Care services. They also have been trained in when and how to refer patients in need of pastoral care to a staff or student chaplain.
Initial visits are preeminent opportunities for CPE students to learn pastoral assessment and intervention skills. At Loyola, students must demonstrate these skills in initial visits before they are trusted with the more precarious and vulnerable patients in critical care, ICUs and trauma/ED.
Every initial visit should include giving information and inviting patient story and experience of illness:
Introduction of self and Pastoral Care, as a chaplain; ask permission, is now a good time for a short visit May I sit down?
Welcome to Loyola; hospitality, “also treating the human spirit”
Pastoral Care services: availability of chaplains; often you need to “define” role of chaplain – someone who will stop and listen to their unique journey through illness and this hospitalization. How has this hospital day been for you? What brought you in? Evoke patient story!
Chapel and services; PC card, how to access a chaplain 24/7
Clarification of religion (and for Catholics, desire for Communion) (chart on EPIC)
Offer of prayer
“Anything else I can do for you?” Chaplain as link with medical team, even administration.