SSM Health Medical Minute – Meet the hospital chaplains trained for end of life moments

Medical Minute
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – You may have heard the claim that coronavirus patients are dying alone in hospitals since they have barred visitors. Hospital chaplains are trained for end of life moments and do everything they can to make sure patients do not die alone.

About 20 clergy members are on the team who minister at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospitals in St. Charles, Lake Saint Louis, and Wentzville. They talk and pray with COVID-19 patients through cell phones and iPads or in-person, particularly at end of life moments.

“We try and be present, and make sure that they have a family member present whenever possible. We don’t really want to someone dying alone. Our goal is to make sure that the patients have their needs met. That we are there to support them in whatever their spiritual needs are. A lot of times that means being present at the time of death, whether in the room or outside the room,” said Chance Beeler, SSM Health Manager for Pastoral Care.

“So, I have many patients who find great comfort and solace in their interactions with the spiritual care department, with the chaplains here. Also worth mentioning is the emotional connection with other staff members like nurses, people cleaning the rooms, people bringing the meals, are all very important to a patient’s overall wellbeing,” said Dr. Terra Thorndike with SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital Palliative Care.

SSM Hospitals can make an exception at end life moments for a family member to be in the room. Both the family member and chaplain will be fully owned, wearing a protective mask and gloves, and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from the patient.

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

More local COVID-19 maps and stats

Medical Minute


Healthcare information, educational topics, and cutting-edge health news happening locally. Sponsored by SSM Health

Popular

Latest News

More News