Spotlight on: the Chaplaincy team

Our Chaplaincy team helps colleagues, patients and their carers by providing a confidential listening ear and non-judgmental support to people of all faiths and beliefs – and a recent patient survey showed how appreciated they are.

Led by Adrian Woodbridge, Head of Spiritual Care, they visit wards and departments, and the Chapel is open day and night for prayer and quiet reflection.

“A Chaplain is available 24/7 every day to respond to urgent colleagues’ and patients’ needs,” said Adrian.

“The demand for support has never been so high. People feel more anxious due to the recent hospital pressures, the growing cost of living and the fact that we have just come out of the pandemic.

“Our support doesn’t stop with running the Essential Services foodbank for colleagues, we listen to people’s concerns and offer a space where they can talk and reflect. Some visit us once and get things ‘off their chest’. Others have regular conversations with us.”

The team has recently conducted a survey with patients to understand more about their experience of support.

The results were very positive, revealing that interaction with a Chaplain helps their healing and to understand more about the care they receive.

“People don’t have to be religious to get referred to us,” added Adrian.

“Amongst the patients we visit are those who are refusing treatment, perhaps they are confused about clinical decisions, or are very anxious.

“It was very rewarding to find out that 97% of the patients who completed our survey said their levels of anxiety had lessened after meeting with a Chaplain.

“Also 81% said the conversation with a member of our team helped them to understand better their illness and to feel things were under control.

“This is very important as it shows how we can help bridging the gap between patients and clinical colleagues and help them understand each other better.”

The team will be soon expanding, as Jo Parker, a new Chaplain, will join in February, and will reinstate its community service.

“We have a community Chaplain service where we can visit our discharged patients up to three times to help them reconnect with their communities, for example by taking them to a local club to meet new people.

“We launched this service during the pandemic and we’re now keen to continue to support patients even after they have been discharged.

“We have also started to offer a regular service to colleagues working at Rouen Road and Bowthorpe and are looking at developing a Chaplaincy service permanently based in ED.”

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