The Benefits Of Chaplainry
Enhancing Coping Strategies Trauma can be defined as the overwhelming of coping mechanism. Studies demonstrate that spiritual well being helps persons moderate the feeling associated with trauma and critical incidents: anxiety (Kaczorowski, 1989), hopelessness (Mickley, Socken, & Belcher, 1992), isolation, (Feher & Maly, 1999). Many law enforcement officers and patients expect chaplains to help them with distressing feelings (Hover, Travis, Koeng & Bearon, 1992).
No Cost, High Return L.A.C.A.
Chaplains increase the amount of spiritual and emotional care available to institutions at NO COST. The only published chaplainry cost study reported that the services of professional chaplains range between $2.71 and $6.43 per patient visit (VandeCreek & Lyon, 1994). With the expected 20% reduction of the City's budget for the coming year, the no-cost service provided by L.A.C.A. can help the police department, fire department and other institutions "fill the gap" where the budget can't.
Chaplains play an important role in mitigating situations of community dissatisfaction involving police action and potential litigation. When community members or hospital patients become angry or threatening, L.A.C.A. chaplains can mediate these intense feelings in ways that conserve valuable organizational resources. Their presence can serve as a vehicle for reducing risk and potential litigation. L.A.C.A. chaplains also establish and maintain important relationships with community clergy, which can be critical during a community crisis. L.A.C.A. chaplains help organizations and institutions meet the needs of those they serve, thus enhancing the image of these organizations.
Lower Burnout Rate
Chaplains play an important role in helping police officers, firefighters, healthcare workers and others cope with personal problems. Their supportive consultation can enhance morale and decrease staff burnout. One study reports that 73 percent of Intensive Care physicians and nurses believe that providing comfort for staff is an important chaplain role, 32 percent believe chaplains should be available to help staff with personal problems (Sharp, 1991).
When religious beliefs and practices are tightly interwoven with cultural contexts, chaplains constitute a powerful reminder of the healing, sustaining, guiding, and the reconciling power of religious faith.
L.A.C.A. chaplains are fully endorsed and recommended by their religious institution and its leadership. L.A.C.A. chaplains should be able and willing to be screened by the government agencies (police, fire department, etc.) L.A.C.A. chaplains are required to volunteer at least three assigned posts and be available to serve on a 24-hour call basis. L.A.C.A. chaplains receive monthly training to enhance their efficiency in working in difficult, stressful and traumatic situations.
The training curriculum is provided in two units.
Unit One: Covers the chaplains professional and personal role in providing pastoral care in the police, fire station and health care setting. The unit covers the chaplain's relationship to government and to the institutional setting by providing the necessary skills for competent pastoral care.
Unit Two: Provides training on the Chaplaincy and critical incident stress management. Chaplains are also required to attend monthly workshops, which focus on the chaplain and their special needs. Chaplains have an opportunity to hear presentations from government agencies representatives, who will address agency specific issues related to the chaplaincy.
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