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First ever Hospital Chaplains appeal launched

First ever Hospital Chaplains appeal launched - Hon Hodgson

The first ever annual appeal for Hospital Chaplains kicks off this week with the launch of the inaugural Hospital Chaplains week.

"Hospital Chaplains provide much needed support for patients, relatives and hospital staff but because their work is very much behind the scenes, we don't often hear about the great work they do, Minister of Health Pete Hodgson said today.

"Health care is about much more that physical well-being. The New Zealand health system recognizes that a holistic approach, which involves physical as well as spiritual and emotional care, is needed for complete recovery."

Ron Malpass, the National Executive Officer for the Interchurch Council on Hospital Chaplaincy says "The work of Hospital Chaplains is wide-ranging, from visitations in wards to sitting at the bedside of terminally ill patients to being with families as they turn off the life support of a loved one. It is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job."

The Interchurch Council on Hospital Chaplaincy (ICHC) is made up of 9 denominations and is supported by over 1700 parishes throughout New Zealand.

The service represents a wide range of cultures and religions, "We're here to put people in touch with their own religion, not to push Christianity," says Ron Malpass. "A number of chapels are now spiritual centres and display appropriate symbols of the faiths of all the religions in their District Health Board area.

"Spiritual care is about being there in times of need to support and console, and not just during the bad-times. There are very joyful moments as well, such as the birth of a baby."

Pete Hodgson says, "Many emergency departments around the country have a list of critical people to call in the event of major road accidents or other such traumatic events. The hospital chaplain is on that list, which speaks volumes about the vital role they play in our health system."

Hospital Chaplaincy week runs from 24 September to 1 October.

Question and Answers

What are the 9 denominations that make up the Interchurch Council of Aotearoa, New Zealand? Anglican, Apostolic, Associated Churches of Christ, Baptist, Catholic, Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army.

What is the Interchurch Hospital Chaplancy Service? The Interchurch Hospital Chaplancy Service (ICHC) was established in 1972. At the request of the Government, a group of churches entered into the establishment of an organisation which would be responsible for the running of Hospital Chaplaincy throughout New Zealand's public health service.

A group of churches entered into the establishment of an organisation which would be responsible for the running of Hospital Chaplaincy throughout New Zealand.

ICHC now have 58 full-time Hospital Chaplains and over 300 volunteer chaplain's assistants.

The purpose of the Chaplaincy is to enable any person in hospital or their family to deal with spiritual and life issues that directly affect their well-being.

The service works on the principle that a person's well-being is the result of interaction between their spiritual, mental social and physical being.

Who are ICHC services available to? ICHC services are available for patients, staff and relatives. Chaplains are there to offer a confidential listening ear, support and encouragement in times of stress, uncertainty and grief.

Are Hospital Chaplains only there for Christians? No. Hospital Chaplains are available to anyone of any faith or no faith. Chaplain's respect individual beliefs and affirm the culture of each person they deal with. A number of chapels are now spiritual centres and display appropriate symbols of the faiths of all the religions in their District Health Board area.


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