Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) offers care that involves the whole person – body, mind and Spirit. Spiritual Care Providers work with patients and families in times of illness, trauma and loss, when people often require more than physical care to help them cope.
October 19th – October 23rd marks Spiritual Care Awareness Week at the Health Sciences Centre. Lisa Laitinen-Egbuchulam and Michael Robinson, Spiritual Care Practice Leads at TBRHSC, want to use this week as a reminder that Spiritual Care services play an important role in the healing journey of patients and their families.
“We have conversations with people – often when they’re at their most vulnerable,” says Lisa Laitinen-Egbuchulam. “Spirituality is that part in each of us that seeks to find meaning and purpose in our lives. Many people find their spirituality helps them maintain wellbeing and provides support in the midst of significant transitions in life.”
TBRHSC’s Spiritual Care team consists of two full-time, dedicated Spiritual Care Providers; Laitinen-Egbuchulam and Robinson, who specializes in Aboriginal spiritual care. TBRHSC recognized the value of having a Spiritual Care Provider with Aboriginal expertise since half of all referrals to Spiritual Care are from Aboriginal patients and families. There are also three casual Spiritual Care staff members who cover weekends and evenings.
“We always want to be respectful of, and responsive to, the needs of our patients and families,” says Robinson. “We understand that spiritual expression can take many forms, and we strive to support them all, whether it is interpersonal relationships, ties to community, artistic creation, religious practice, connection to nature and much more. We also respect the spiritual dimension of all persons regardless of race, color, culture, belief system, ability, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Patients or their family members may request spiritual care support at any time for a number of reasons, such as after a diagnosis or prior to surgical procedures; when treatment options are being considered; if the patient or family are asking meaning of life questions; or at the time of a death.
Spiritual Care Providers at the Health Sciences Centre can offer patients and families: