Back to home Feb. 2013
Meet Your Care Provider
Chaplains Bring Comfort, Healing to Hospital Setting
For more than 20 years, Lee Memorial Health System has offered chapels and chaplain services to comfort patients and their families in times of need.
“We are a bridge that connects families, employees and patients to spiritual support,” says Rev. Cynthia Brasher, Lee Memorial Health System director of spiritual services. Rev. Brasher also is the chaplain for HealthPark Medical Center. Rev. Brasher and her team offer spiritual and emotional support for anyone who requests it, in many different situations.
“We realize that we may not be the answer to someone who is hurting,” Rev. Brasher says. “People are on different journeys. When people do request us, the conversations become quite real. The superficial falls away. It’s an honor to stand with people who want to speak with us in those critical times, whether it’s the rituals for the dying or bringing new life into the world.”
Lee Memorial Health System chaplains work full time, are board-certified or eligible for board-certification and are trained to help people of all faiths or those who do not have a particular faith preference.
Rev. William Miller III, works at Lee Memorial Hospital and recently had an unexpected response to a patient who was fighting cancer. “Reflecting on the pain of her own life experience, she made the statement, ‘I am giving up the fight,’” Rev. Miller says. “I am quite sure she expected my reaction to inspire new energy in the fight. Instead, I said, ‘Finally! You need to stop the struggle. I agree.’”
After a few moments of silence, Rev. Miller told the woman that she might be at a turning point in her medical journey. “You may descend into a valley of increasing rest and peace,” he said. “We began a conversation that spanned two more visits and I witnessed her deepening relationship to God, as well as to her mom. In this journey she was learning to seek meaning in quietness, in reviewing life’s most impactful moments and in a new search for what she valued most in life. It was a remarkable experience for all of us who entered her space in those days.”
Rev. Miller says that his role with each person who requests his presence is to respect his or her needs and listen to what they want from him. “Much of my time may be simple but active listening,” he says. “Also, reframing what they share in order to open their perspectives to include a listening heart. I want to enrich their lives.”
In addition to the chaplain program, the spiritual services department also includes the parish nurse program and the bereavement program for the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Chaplains work mostly in patient rooms, but will meet with patients and their families in other hospital locations. Each hospital has a chapel that is open 24 hours a day, to anyone of any faith who wants to use it or needs time alone.
“We feel like that’s a really important part of our services,” Rev. Brasher says. “We want people to know that there is an avenue for spiritual reflection, even if we are not physically there.”
“"We are a bridge that connects families, employees and patients to spiritual support,” says Rev. Cynthia Brasher.”