At Summa, we recognize that the health of our patients, their families and friends, and our employees encompasses more than their physical well-being. When it comes to leading a healthy, productive and satisfying life, we know that the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of good health are just as important as those that affect a person physically. This is why we have incorporated a pastoral care program into the continuum of care provided at Summa.
Pastoral Care at Summa
At Summa, the pastoral care program is headed up by an ordained chaplain who relies on the assistance of trained volunteers to meet the needs of our patients, their families and friends, and our employees. The chaplain has a myriad of responsibilities, including:
- helping staff members who are dealing with patients of different religions, ethical and moral backgrounds
- performing religious rites or coordinating with a patient's clergy to have them performed
- acting as liaison between physicians and the patients' clergy
- working closely with the ethics committee
- assisting patients, families and staff members with end-of-life decisions
- establishing relationships with local clergy and congregations
- ensuring emergency ministrations are provided to patients
- recruiting and training volunteer chaplains
Goals of Pastoral Care
The chaplain helps patients, their family members and staff members through difficult situations by meeting their spiritual needs - however diverse they may be. The program encompasses the development and presentation of community and staff member training concerning the importance of pastoral care, what it is, the benefits it provides, and when and how to introduce a chaplain in the patient care process.
Pastoral Care Advisory Board
A pastoral care advisory board provides assistance to the chaplain in evaluating the spiritual needs of Akron's diverse communities. The members represent a broad variety of cultural and interfaith perspectives and, within the larger board, there are four subcommittees, covering pastoral services, pastoral education, finance and personnel, which help to determine the best way to minister to the wide spectrum of individuals who form the backbone of our towns and neighborhoods.