Zen Healthcare in the 21st Century
December 14, 2009
Posted by Philip Ryan in : Buddhism & Health
The New York Times reported on the much-needed hospital chaplaincy work of monks from the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. The piece sheds light on the increasing need for chaplaincy work in hospitals, where resources are stretched very thin and bedside care isn’t what it used to be (if it ever was.)
Wendy Cadge, a sociologist at Brandeis University who is writing a book about hospital chaplaincy called “Paging God,” said data on the value of chaplains was slim.
“But people think chaplains are really helpful around end-of-life issues and increasingly complex ethical decisions,” she said, including organ donations, living wills and do-not-resuscitate orders.
“Chaplains do a lot to help reduce anxieties,” she added. “One study says patients and families who see a chaplain are more satisfied with their care.”
Religious services cannot be paid for with taxpayer money, so hospitals generally pony up themselves. The overall cost is tiny and the chaplain’s value is well understood. The piece is worth reading in full—it’s short.