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I’ll answer Jennifer’s questions first before I reflect and respond to the two excellent videos.
In one of my sites we minister to Baby boomers and younger. Average age in 60 residents is 38 years old. The other site is 200 residents with only a few boomers and all the others older; including two ladies who will turn 105 in December. I notice that the older ones are often more interested in personal relationships with the chaplain, they love their visit. They like being hospitable and are thankful when you mention how enjoyable the visit was. Boomers may be very unused to having other than family or close friends visit them; but they can often be surprised how a visit and interacting can seem helpful to them in their circumstances. The younger clients are not hospitable, don’t want you in their room, are usually distrustful of people in general and wonder what the chaplains purpose is because it isn’t practical or beneficial to them in their world view. Some of the latter reflection needs sot take in that these younger residents are often very sick with multiple things wrong with them and even when they have a break from their degenerative disease have to deal with issues like bladder infections, bed sores, and what they see as really poor care by staff. The staff in our places are largely Philipino or East Indian who bring with them their culture, perspectives and biases.
Older residents desire to talk about themselves, their lives, jobs, holidays, kids, grandkids etc. Younger residents don’t open up much and in some cases almost seem incapable of doing so, because its just not done in their experience. Asking them questions even with great intent and desire to help often seems to them as an intrusion and they question why you would possibly want to know these things.
I am 66 and want to declare my own struggle to communicate with residents that begin with distrust and set opinions about values, morals, issues, and religion and spirituality. I have experienced really liking a number of our residents who were younger and yet always feeling I am distrusted for what I represent in their mind.
On the second question.
I have quoted the findings of articles over the years to my inter disciplinary team, colleagues and general public on the value of chaplaincy. These have become anecdotes I guess. But I have talked about how prayers helped some people get better quicker, deal with heart attacks and have less problems, how clients took fewer pain meds when visited by the chaplain, or the role of a chaplain helped nurses with fewer calls from patients who were consistently visited by the chaplain.
But I was really wide eyed and overwhelmed with the number of things the Signature group was keeping tabs on, measuring and documenting, for the purpose solely it seemed to justify chaplaincy, but also to fund it, turn it into research articles and seminars to push their brand and corporate identity.
I kept stopping the video to be able to give myself time. I repeatedly thought to myself, “this is interesting” BUT what would it be like to be a chaplain in this system?
I also noted they had talked on several occasions about what I would call the specific protocol the chaplain was to use in response to a particular type of illness. I am sure this was in large part due to the replicability of the intervention and its improvement over time. I wondered if there was a lot of woodeness in the ressonse due to this standardization of response by the chaplain. A just say this kind of boxing in of the creativity, even though they talked a lot about how creative they were.
My response to both of these videos was surprising to me. I thought I would really like to be able to spend a week with each of them. The spiritual assessments and responses that would lead to know what the resident needed to bolster their ability to have faith, hope, joy and peace was really interesting to me and I would love to see it work in action. It really has helped me think of how the questions I ask might be brought into a tighter framework of goals: aiming at what brings the resident these four things. We have three questions at the bottom of our initial spiritual assessment. Who is important to the resident? What do they look forward to? What issue are they working on at this time? I can see the possible list of questions, when aimed at faith, hope, joy and peace being very productive with certain populatons; particularly many boomers and the older generation. I’d also like to ask younger residents questions which would elicit answers they felt comfortable sharing on these topics.
What I need to do is ask of myself is the questions too of what today would bring me deeper faith, greater hope, more joy and lasting peace.
I recorded for my own purposes the three minute section from Dr. Kuepfer when she opened up and let flow her passion about finding the answers to the questions. This was really inspiring; to hear her voice and the result of her work turn into such flowing prose. She really encapsulated the passion she feels and I resonated with it. This video I thought went really well with the articles on spiritual assessment. This course has had great materials to study and for further working with. Thank you.
The Signature video presentation was also very interesting. As I said above I would love to be able to get a chance to get fully immersed for about a week in the system and be able to learn in their presence what really all that talk means in the interpersonal relationships to the clients. I’d love to give their systems and interventions a try, just to see if I would be as wide eyed and wound up and enthused as they are. On a side note I had a fair bit of trouble understanding Joe. Whether it was skips in the video or his speech or accent, sometimes I just did not get what he said.