Pastoral Ministry to the Sick and Elderly In Nursing Homes and Hospitals

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Kruml, Theresa
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
Today we live in a high tech society characterized by an aging population which is increasingly alienated from the institutionalized churches. Also, in the hospital and nursing home environment frequently the spiritual dimension of the individual is neglected. To illustrate, JCAHO, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organization, ranks pastoral care third in importance (on a scale one to three) whereas the Illinois Department of Public Health does not even consider this area of care. While the health care professionals endorse the holistic health care concept, funds and personnel are often unavailable to provide pastoral care in the institutions, and the burden of care frequently falls of the shoulders of the local Roman Catholic clergy and other Protestant ministers.