Volunteer Chaplains Bring Comfort to Patients

Volunteer Chaplains Bring Comfort to Patients

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Carole Mikita ReportingPatients at Primary Children's Medical Center have a host of medical services available to them seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Those youngsters and their families now also have another kind of care whenever they need it.

When Dennis Brunetti walks into a patient's room, he understands the pain and fear. Three years ago, he too was diagnosed with cancer.

Dennis Brunetti, Volunteer Chaplain: "I had to go through the process of getting well; getting healed; becoming whole again. I quit my corporate job and decided I wanted to give something back to the community."

Brunetti is one of the new group of volunteer chaplains at Primary Children's Medical Center. They are there at night, during the weekends and on holidays.

Dennis Brunetti: "We can talk and try to help create that bridge for them to deal with the change in the family equilibrium, which is sometimes so traumatic here."

There are 24 chaplain volunteers. They are people of different ages, different social circumstances and they come from different faiths. They each agree not to impose their specific beliefs on the patients or their families, just to listen and offer comfort.

Erin Ivie, Patient's Mother: "It's a huge help cause I think that's the only thing that does help is prayers and faith. That's all that's worked for us."

Adding volunteers pastoral care was the idea of the hospital's full-time chaplain who realized he couldn't be there around-the-clock.

Michael Jackson, Primary Children's Chaplain: "If we can't take away the medical problem, we can't wave a magic wand to make that go away, at least we can join them so that, one of the greatest pains, that is loneliness, doesn't have to be so big a part of that experience."

The Chaplain Volunteer Program is now fully-staffed and even has a waiting list for new volunteers.

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