Hear More on Grace Matters
Grace Matters host Peter W. Marty talks with Stacey L. Jutila about spiritual care for hospitalized children. Tune in April 27, or listen online…
• Invite children of the congregation to create cards, pictures and posters to place on the child’s hospital-room walls.
• Offer to pick up a child’s siblings from school and bring them home or to the hospital for a brief visit when the parents may be staying overnight at the hospital.
• Give the child a blanket or prayer shawl from the congregation.
• Create rituals and share Scripture stories that create space for the children to share about their hopes, fears and questions about their illness.
• Assist a family in creating a Web page. Many hospitals sponsor password-protected pages for families, such as Caring Bridge or CarePages.
• Provide gift cards or certificates for restaurants and stores near the hospital.
Kelsey Jo Hoffman, 18, underwent a stem-cell transplant at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., four years ago when I was there for chaplaincy training.
She and her mother were hundreds of miles away from friends and family in Hartford, S.D. At times Kelsey couldn’t have many people visit her at the hospital because of her weakened immune system.
|Kelsey Jo Hoffman|
Some days it helped to talk on the phone. At other times she said it was difficult to find the energy to phone and repeat news about her progress to her friends, family and pastor at Christ Lutheran Church
One way Kelsey and her mother connected to loved ones was to create a Web site at Caring Bridge
. Each day they could write updates and journal entries. Loved ones also could leave messages for them. At the bottom of the Web page was a tally of the number of people who had read it.
For all of the thousands of times their Web site was read, Kelsey and her mom said they felt like they received thousands of hugs and prayers.
Months after Kelsey’s stem-cell transplant, she returned to her home church and shared from the pulpit about her journey with cancer and the importance of the support she received from the congregation.
Just as Scripture helps us to enter into the story of God’s love for us, this Web page helped Kelsey and her mother remain connected to their faith community.