Hospice of Marion County, Inc. recognizes the importance of Spiritual Care for patients and families. One’s beliefs and values can profoundly affect how patients and their families cope with illness.
Hospice patients and their families may experience spiritual, religious or cultural concerns arising as a result of living with a terminal illness.
Hospice Clinical Chaplains are available for support and may collaborate with a patient’s personal clergy if the patient and family wish. Sometimes people simply need to share their thoughts and feelings with someone that listens with compassion and respects confidentiality.
There is never any attempt to impose a particular faith or tradition or to change a person’s belief system. Hospice Clinical Chaplains respect and acknowledge the patient’s spiritual and cultural values and how these values may impact a patient’s response to their overall care.
You may request a Chaplain at any time of the day or night, by calling 352-873-7400.
HELLO & GOODBYE'S...Remembrances
"I received a call about a 60-year-old patient who desired spiritual support. She had very little time remaining and declined further treatment. When we met, I found a woman who was going rapidly through the tasks that hospice encourages: saying hello, I love you and goodbye. She had gone through family photos with her daughter and supported her husband’s grief, while finding reassurance from her faith. She wanted to complete the unfinished business of saying goodbye to her son in an out-of-state prison. When she died peacefully the next day, the family asked me to notify her son. When I called the prison, he said he had been comforted by speaking with his mother and found renewed strength in her strong faith.”
Rev. Robert Greaves, EdD, thought he was retiring when he and his wife moved to Ocala in 1999. But retirement didn't last long. Soon he was invited to lead a Tuesday morning Bible study group. That didn’t last long either. Today, the study group has grown into a non-denominational church with 150 members. Even with his growing congregation, Bob didn’t say ‘no’ when the offer came for a part-time chaplain position with Hospice of Marion County. Bob now works three days a week tending to the spiritual needs of patients in 10 area nursing homes. His colleague Warren Thompson, calls Bob a team player whose boundless energy and compassion is evident in his dedication to helping patients and families, even returning several times in the same night to offer support: “He is a true spokesperson for Hospice in the community.”
“For me, life has been a celebration of usefulness and many satisfying experiences,” says Bob. “My prayer is that my actions make someone else’s life a little richer.” His philosophy is that the chaplain’s visit serves a therapeutic role—one of listening and guiding, knowing that the questions themselves are more important than knowing or giving an answer. “This allows the patients to release whatever emotions they are feeling in order to embrace a higher power, a source of strength that is beyond oneself. Only then can real healing take place.”
Chaplain Cushman’s philosophy of providing spiritual care is broad and deep. He says: “It isn’t easy to live and die meaningfully in our society today. For many people there is a loss of the sacred. The process of dying can be a difficult journey with many fears and anxieties; but it is also a very mysterious and wondrous process. It involves both the body and the soul in the greatest transition we are ever called to make. My goal as a chaplain is to assist both the patient and the family through the final chapter of life with as much caring and compassion as possible, while respecting their personal beliefs.”
Doug is a longtime hospice chaplain, who began working for the agency on an as-needed basis in 1993. Over the years, he has been an instrument of healing for the many patients and families he has served. He has a true passion for those who are hurting and is devoted to his role in helping those in pain find peace. “I love being associated with Hospice of Marion County and the work that I am able to do. I feel very humbled, honored and blessed to be here.” Doug is also the chaplain who regularly serves the families at our assited living facilities.
"I was inspired by a man who had been on his own since age 12. At 86, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He had a life of struggle and was determined to provide security for his family. He returned home where they could be close by, but he declined rapidly and only given two weeks. His family gathered around, he regained strength and lived under the care of hospice another nine months.
The last week of his life was invaluable to my experience as a chaplain. He entered a stage hospice characterizes as “staring.” Patients gaze into the distance at someone or something others cannot see. He answered ‘no’ to everything. Over time, his answers were a little calmer and some were ‘yes’ between the ‘no’s.’ By week’s end, his responses were all ‘yes’ and very quiet before he passed peacefully.
This man was my father. Experiencing this with him assured my belief that there is a ‘letting go’ and ‘letting God’ that occurs at end of life. As a chaplain, I am privileged to be present for that segment of a person’s journey. I never cease to be humbled at the mysteries of life."
For me…hospice is like a family. I know this from an experience in my own family some 16 years ago. I have never forgotten the difference hospice made in the passing of my father. When he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I knew the prognosis was not hopeful as I had visited patients with this disease. As I expected, his health began to deteriorate. When he became bed bound, we called the hospice where we lived in West Virginia. Immediately, they were by our side to help make arrangements for his end-of-life care. A nurse visited my parents’ home and an adjustable bed was delivered to make him more comfortable.
At that time I was not aware of the many services hospice had to support my family during this difficult time. But I know this: the folks at hospice made it easier. I am grateful for all they did during his last days. After his passing, I knew if I could ever be a part of a hospice program I would welcome the opportunity. With the help of a church friend who served as a volunteer, I now have that opportunity of helping others through a time of sorrow just as we were helped so many years ago.
As a hospital chaplain, police officer and church pastor for many years, Herb has shared life and death on deep personal levels with thousands of people. Herb, who goes by the nickname Padre, is both witty and wise, using his real-life application approach to cope with daily challenges with love, humor and depth. The Padre’s message is that true forgiveness has amazing power...the power to restore broken relationship, lift feelings of guilt and literally change one’s perspective of life.
Our Resources page has variety of support topics. Below are websites with a spiritual basis: