MDedge Internal Medicine: Undeterred during COVID-19, hospital chaplains transform delivery of spiritual care

Doug Brunk  from MDedge Internal Medicine:

The first time that the Rev. Michael Mercier, BCC (a board-certified chaplain), provided spiritual care for a patient hospitalized with COVID-19 in March, he found himself engaged in a bit of soul-searching. Even though he donned a mask, gloves, and gown, he could get no closer than the hospital room doorway to interact with the patient because of infection-control measures.

“It went against all my natural instincts and my experience as a chaplain,” said Rev. Mercier, who serves as director of spiritual care for Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Miriam Hospital, and Newport Hospital, which are operated by Lifespan, Rhode Island’s largest health system. “The first instinct is to be physically present in the room with the person who’s dying, to have the family gathered around the bedside.”

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