Departments within hospitals, HMOs and other health care institutions that provide for the spiritual care of patients with severe, chronic or terminal conditions, their families and staff, regardless of their religious traditions. Pastoral care workers work cooperatively with the health care team; listen, elicit and respond to individual religious/spiritual needs; identify and clarify ethical issues related to end-of-life treatment and care; provide bereavement support for family members, significant others and professional staff; and ensure that treatment addresses the whole person, not just his or her medical needs. The service is provided by licensed clergy or trained, accredited spiritual care volunteers.
Programs that investigate and establish the cause of death in prescribed situations; help people dispose of the personal property of a family member or friend who has died; or provide funeral services and/or arrange for the shipping, interment, entombment, scattering or release of the remains of a person who has died.
Organizations or programs which focus on the topic of death and/or the process of dying and which may provide information about death and dying from different historical, philosophical, spiritual, religious, medical or mental health perspectives through classes, workshops, speakers, printed materials, or other modalities which may assist interested people to develop their own way of viewing and dealing with these experiences.
Programs that provide emotional support, problem-solving assistance, information and guidance for people who have recently lost a loved one. Included are counselling programs for widows and widowers, children who have lost a parent, parents who have lost a child and people who are in other similar situations.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.