Massachusetts General Hospital Patient Care Services
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Patient Care Services


About Patient Care Services

Chaplain at beside of patient


Introduction to Spiritual Care at MGH

Professional chaplains provide spiritual care to people of all traditions, cultures, and beliefs. We serve as liaisons, connecting members of the healthcare team, patients and families, and, if requested, clergy or other religious leaders in the community. Chaplaincy services are free, private, and confidential.


Spiritual support helps when you

  • have no nearby family or friends to be with you
  • are preparing for surgery, chemotherapy, or other procedures
  • are distressed by difficult relationships
  • have suffered a loss, are grieving or bereaved
  • struggle to find meaning in illness
  • would like to talk through treatment choices or goals of care
  • would like a blessing, prayer, or other comfort from a familiar tradition
  • are fearful, anxious, or feeling low and need someone to talk with
  • have a new diagnosis
Chaplains work with patients and their families to
  • Assist in working through spiritual struggles
  • Engage in the search for hope or meaning
  • Provide prayer and ritual
  • Listen to concerns about relationships
  • Support those without close ones or a congregation nearby

Credentials and Collaboration

All MGH chaplains, both lay and ordained, are clinically trained, have masters-degree-level theological education, and have been endorsed for hospital chaplaincy. MGH chaplains observe standards of practice developed by the Association of Professional Chaplains for use in acute care settings.

Chaplains are an integral part of the patient care team, attending rounds, participating in interdisciplinary team and family meetings, and contributing a spiritual perspective to a patient’s particular situation and plan of care.

Spiritual Assessment

To provide the best patient and family centered spiritual care, the chaplain gathers and evaluates relevant data pertinent to the patient’s situation and/or bio-psycho-social-spiritual-religious health. Then the chaplain develops a plan of care to address spiritual/religious issues and provide for continuity of care, collaborating with the interdisciplinary team to implement the plan.

Spiritual Care Interventions

Individualized spiritual care plans may include pastoral counseling, prayer and ritual,
responding to faith-specific needs, and supporting patients and families through times of uncertainty, distress, recovery, or adjustment.

How to Contact a Chaplain

Chaplains provide spiritual support to patients and families of all traditions, cultures, and beliefs. To contact a chaplain, ask a member of your healthcare team to make a referral, or call the Chaplaincy Department at 617-726-2220. Messages are retrieved daily between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Chaplains are on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. Mass General chaplains are accessible on all patient care floors of the hospital, including the emergency department, and in some outpatient areas.



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