Coronavirus brings new role for hospital chaplains

Benita Zahn
Created: April 15, 2020 06:00 PM

The stress for everyone inside hospitals these days is off the charts. From the front line medical staff to families who can't be with loved ones, often at their time of death. So hospital chaplains are assuming an even bigger role.

While trained to provide solace, this new normal is stretching them in ways they never imagined.
"We do a lot more over the phone. We do more visiting, tele-connecting with people over video, calling families," said Tahlia Hadley, a chaplain with St. Peter's Health Partners. "I've prayed through the glass windows of the ICU with the family on the other end of the phone."
They're also connecting more frequently with staff, assessing their stressors - offering prayers for them.  


However, there is a unique emotional dimension to their job now. In essence, being surrogate family when a patient in isolation - because of coronavirus, takes their last breath - with no loved ones allowed at bedside.
"It has been heartbreaking and to be honest with you, doing like telechaplaincy putting the family on, like,  Skype or Facetime just to watch their loved one pass without them has been one of the hardest of things to watch," said Aloysius Kabunga, Manager of Spiritual Care at St. Peter's Health Partners.
Learn more about the emotional toll this is all taking, by watching the video of Benita Zahn's story.

Copyright 2020 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Comment on Facebook
Thousands without power in the Capital Region following storm

Tropical Storm Isaias drenches Capital Region

Albany County: Young demographic has the highest infection rate

Senate Education Committee to host virtual discussion on reopening schools

Tropic storm Isaias whips up eastern US, killing at least 6