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Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

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Spirituality and Faith

Chaplain at a pediatric cancer hospital prepares for play-based activity.

Chaplains and other Spiritual Care Specialists can provide a comforting presence during a time of stress no matter what a family's faith might be.

For many people, faith and spirituality play a major role in coping with cancer. At hospitals, spiritual care specialists offer support and care for patients and families no matter what their faith or path to spirituality might be.

Spiritual care usually consists of a team of chaplains. These professionals are trained to help patients and families of all beliefs. Spiritual care may be an individual department or it may be a contact person or group of people in the hospital’s community. At some hospitals, spiritual care may be called pastoral care or chaplaincy.

Caregiver holds hands with a pediatric cancer patient
  • Chaplains and Spiritual Care

    When struggling with the reality that your child has cancer, a hospital chaplain can provide a life raft in a churning sea of emotions.

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  • Answering Children's Spiritual Questions

    When your child asks you tough questions about cancer, it’s OK if you don’t have all the answers. Some questions may not have them.

    Learn More
  • How to Nurture Spiritual Health

    A child’s cancer diagnosis can drain parents’ emotional strength, spirit, and sense of connection with the people around them. Many parents say it can be helpful to find ways to nurture the soul, sometimes referred to as spiritual practices.

    Learn More

When should I seek out spiritual care?

Spiritual care specialists are there to

  • Listen to your concerns about illness or treatment without judgment.
  • Pray with you.
  • Provide you with a comforting presence during a time of stress.
  • Contact community clergy or faith groups on your behalf.
  • Discuss religious and ethical questions.
  • Provide sacraments, rites and rituals for your faith tradition.
  • Help support family members experiencing feelings of grief and loss.
  • Assist with end-of-life decisions.

How do I connect with spiritual care at my child’s hospital?

A chaplain may be assigned to your child’s care team. If you’re not sure, ask your nurse or social worker to put you in touch with spiritual care. Most hospitals have chaplains on call 24 hours a day.

Reviewed: June 2018