Hospital chaplain, or "spiritual assistant"? – pitfalls of missing legislative framework


Authors: Jana Maryšková
Authors‘ workplace: Teologická fakulta, Jihočeská univerzita v Českých Budějovicích
Published in: Čas. Lék. čes. 2016; 155: 263-266
Category: Original Article

Overview

As military and prison chaplains have been active in the military or prison service for many years, nowadays, hospital chaplains have been active in many hospitals in the Czech Republic, too. The work of hospital chaplains, however, still lacks the necessary legislative framework and being embodied in law, which brings some drawbacks. These include primarily non-participation of the ministry of health as a contractual partner in the agreement on spiritual care in health care, the lack of a framework that would arrange the status of chaplains among other health professionals and the related uncertainty regarding career and competency profile of a chaplain.

Moreover, the ministry has not set clear rules for the work of chaplains in hospitals, and due to this fact, it has created the space for providing this service also by unqualified persons. This may ultimately have a negative impact on patients. It is therefore the responsibility of the hospital management to arrange that only professional hospital chaplains sent to hospitals on the basis of an agreement between the hospital and the relevant church work there.

Key words:
hospital chaplain, spiritual assistant, health care system, legislation


Sources

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