Garden dedication by the family of Juanita Strickland Sparrow.

Weekend Chaplain Brings Comfort to McLeod Patients

Generous gifts to the McLeod Foundation have funded a much needed service by providing for weekend chaplains. The value of spiritual care as it affects physical healing has long been recognized as part of the culture at McLeod Health with a dedicated Pastoral Services Department.

One Sunday morning, Gloria Ham, a Weekend Chaplain at McLeod, received a call from a nurse in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). A three-month-old was coding and the medical team feared the child may not survive much longer. The nurse asked Gloria if she could be there in five minutes. Gloria arrived in time and offered support and prayer with the mother. Fortunately, the crisis passed and the child began to recover. Gloria continued to visit the family regularly until the child was well enough to go home, even providing the mother with her phone number if she ever wanted to pray over the phone.

On another occasion, Gloria received an emergency call from a staff member, who team was very concerned about one of their older patients. Despite the team's best efforts, the patient had completely stopped talking. She was crying and wanted to give up. Gloria stayed by the patient's side until she was able to express what she was going through. By offering continued spiritual support, the patient regained her perspective and became strong enough to heal and go home.

"I am so very thankful for this opportunity," says Gloria, who serves as both a volunteer chaplain and weekend chaplain at McLeod. "It touches my heart to spend time with a patient who is not at peace. To pray with them, hold their hand, read scripture or provide comfort with simple acts like brushing their hair allows me to share peace and joy."

Pastoral Services has been established as an area of funding for the McLeod Foundation. Donors may designate their gifts in support of this invaluable care. Gifts have not only provided for the weekend chaplain, but also funded the new Continuing Education Program for area clergy, Care Notes for patient and family use and the Care Channel broadcast in patient rooms.

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