Michael wrote: “I struggle with the fact that there is no hard bottom line dollar amount to what Pastoral Care can save – bring – to the bottom line. In a for-profit world, money is not given to where there is no direct line to an increased bottom line.”
Some tome ago I read a white paper that addressed the bottom line value of chaplaincy/spiritual care. See links for reference. I don’t know if others have come across similar articles.
It is hard to show how spiritual care has monetary value to institutions looking at the bottom line. We each face this in unique ways.
Here is part of my story and situation. I work in a continuing care facility that was started over 100 yrs ago by the church. Those spiritual values are largely gone from the day to day mindset of the operation of the campus. Now, it is more about regulations, marketing, and staying competitive with other providers. One example of this is we recently upgraded our cafe soda machine to one that serves 60 flavors, instead of four. I think this is part of why resident satisfaction suffers.
I admit that I compare my work as the chaplain to another department. There is a “wellness director” for my campus who has a budget for activities staff, games, films, trips, outings, etc.and for paying for outside program providers. I have no “spiritual care / chaplaincy budget and am not part of the company budget building process. The company does pay for the worship bulletin paper. Recently they paid for a few grief support books for residents, for which I am grateful. I find myself often looking for free resources on line to use. Expenses are treated on an as needed basis. If I were to use budgets and line items to measure the relative value my company places on these two departments (which says it is faith-based…) I would have to wonder. Most days I get my value and purpose from the interactions I have with individual residents and with groups sharing devotions or Bible study.