The mission of the Department of Pastoral Counseling is to provide spiritual and emotional support to all patients, visitors, and staff personnel of GRHealth, particularly in times of loss and bereavement, and to do so in an interdenominational, multicultural manner in which all faiths are respected. We will work with the community to ensure access and availability to the spiritual resources requested by our patients.
Patient Care Settings
Chaplains in the Department of Pastoral Counseling perform their duties in various settings throughout the medical complex. Patient rooms, waiting areas, clinic rooms, intensive care units, and common areas throughout the hospital serve as settings for pastoral encounters. The goal of the department is to be visible in, and maintain a relationship throughout, all clinics, nursing units, clinical areas, and support areas throughout the medical center. Any patient admitted into the Georgia Regents Health System system is a potential recipient of the services of the Pastoral Counseling Department, as are their families and friends, and other associated visitors. A great deal of time is also given to staff support, as the nature of health care work lends to stress related responses. We seek to support the staff as well as to help care for them when events occur in their family.
Meet the Chaplains
The Revd Dr W. Jeffrey Flowers
Chaplain Brennan Francois
The Revd Erwin Veale
All of the full-time chaplains at Georgia Regents Health System are required to have graduated with a professional ministerial degree and are encouraged to be Board Certified through the Association of Professional Chaplains. The director of the department and the associate director are required to have this certification which can only be achieved when the following requirements are completed:
- A Master of Divinity degree from an accredited seminary
- A full year of Clinical Pastoral Education
- A minimum of 5 years clinical experience
- 50 hours of CEU’s per year
Board Certified Chaplains are cross-trained to serve all populations in a general hospital setting. Specialized training for areas is encouraged. The Georgia Regents Health System pastoral staff is diverse in gender, ethnicity, and theological tenets. Currently we have chaplains who have achieved special training in the areas of Pediatrics, Neonatology, Geriatrics, Physical Rehabilitation, and Substance Abuse. All chaplains are required to have an understanding of the spiritual needs of the general population.
The Department of Pastoral Counseling provides emotional and spiritual support, particularly in times of loss and bereavement. Daily visitation is conducted throughout the hospital with special emphasis given to the Intensive Care Units, Pre-surgery areas, and all emergency situations. Follow-up contacts with all families who have experienced a loss at Georgia Regents Health System occur from within the department. Literature is sent through the mail with an invitation to be a part of the many support groups that are available. Often members of the Department of Pastoral Counseling participate in funeral services or memorials.
Local clergy are involved in the Pastoral Counseling Department in two ways:
- As consultants and clergy for particular faith group requests
- As volunteer clergy to assist with staffing on the weekends
Continuing Education is provided for the community clergy to help create an awareness of the ever-changing healthcare environment.
Advance Medical Directives
The Department of Pastoral Counseling assists patients who wish to have more information concerning Advanced Medical Directives. If a patient chooses to develop an advanced directive, the pastoral staff assists them in completing the necessary paperwork and placing the completed advanced directive into the appropriate chart. The pastoral staff has been trained in the Critical Decisions program and provides advanced directive assistance to the community through this program.
The Director of Pastoral Counseling serves on the ethics committee and is the liaison to the JCAHO task force on Institutional Ethics and Patient Rights. In addition to attending meetings, the pastoral staff supports the committee by serving in an on-call capacity for the committee and often is the first line of referral for those wishing to access the committee.
There are three different spaces set aside on the GRHealth campus designated as Chapels/Meditation Rooms. The Chapel in the main Hospital is located on the second floor on the hallway near the Terrace dining room, BA2473. The Chapel in the CHOG is located on the first floor, next to the gift shop. The Meditation Retreat in the Comprehensive Cancer Center is also on the first floor. Each of the spaces in the hospitals are open 24/7. The Cancer Center Meditation Room is open during operational hours for the center. All of the spaces are non-sectarian in nature to allow for the use by all people of all faiths and creeds. We hope our patients, families, and staff will take advantage of these quiet places.
Interdenominational Chapel Services are conducted each Sunday and on Religious Holy Days. Three services are held each Sunday in the following locations:
- Adult Chapel: 10:00 AM
Georgia Regents Medical Center - 2nd floor
- CMC Chapel 10:45 AM
Georgia Regents Medical Center Children’s Hospital of Georgia - 1st floor
- 3 South/Geriatrics 11:15 AM
Georgia Regents Medical Center - 3rd floor
The chapels are also made available to religious groups needing space to support faith rituals.
The Children’s Hospital of Georgia Chapel.
Georgia Regents Health System has a contract with Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center to offer Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for military chaplains. We are one of four centers selected by the Department of Defense. The students minister in our Emergency Department from August through May.
The Department of Pastoral Care is a charter member of the CSRA CPE System. Each year 5 residents travel through the services of the health care system with one being assigned as a fulltime stipend resident. The program is fully accredited through the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).
The Department of Pastoral Care participates in the teaching mission of the Georgia Regents Medical Center through a series of lectures and faculty participation throughout the academic year. All five schools within the university participate.
Students and housestaff are welcome to accompany the chaplains on pastoral rounds or to take call with a chaplain. Academic electives (mini-CPE) are available for students who want to learn more about pastoral care in healthcare. Students and residents interested in becoming lay volunteer chaplains should speak with Dr. Flowers.
The Department has a library of teaching materials on clinical pastoral care, spiritual history taking, and related topics.
For routine contact or correspondence you may reach the Department of Pastoral Counseling using the following address or phone numbers:
Department of Pastoral Counseling
Georgia Regents Medical Center
1120 15th Street
Augusta, GA 30912-5006