Community Visitors

Information for Community Spiritual Care Providers

VIHA Spiritual Health welcomes the contribution of community faith groups whose representatives provide spiritual care to their members. VIHA Spiritual Health and community faith groups work together in partnership to ensure that patients and residents in residential care facilities have access to the spiritual care they need.

We Are a Team

The Spiritual Care team is made up of hospital staff Spiritual Health Practitioners (Hospital Chaplains), trained Spiritual Health volunteers, clergy and leaders of faith groups who visit patients and residents in health care facilities, and lay representatives of faith groups appointed by their faith group to visit patients and residents.

Registered Clergy and Lay Representatives

VIHA Spiritual Health offers clergy and lay representatives the opportunity to register with Spiritual Health. (See sidebar on right for link to the registration form.) In order to be registered they must have attended an orientation session offered by Spiritual Health in the fall and in the spring. It is expected that they will attend a refresher orientation every five years.

Registered clergy and lay representatives are given a copy of VIHA's policy on the confidentiality of information about patients and residents, and are asked to sign a form stating that they have read and understood the policy. (See sidebar on right for link to the policy and form.)

They are given a photo ID badge that identifies them to VIHA staff as registered clergy, or lay faith group representatives ("denominational visitors"). Wearing the badge is a good way to get the attention and cooperation of care facility staff.

They are provided with a free parking pass that allows them to park in VIHA's visitor parking lots. The parking pass must be renewed every year. (See sidebar on right for link to the Parking Pass Form.)

They are expected to abide by VIHA's guidelines for infection control. That means

  • Refraining from coming to a facility if one is sick or infectious
  • Washing one's hands before visiting a patient or resident and washing one's hands after visiting.

Registered clergy and lay representatives have access to a room for their use while visiting patients at Royal Jubilee Hospital and Victoria General Hospital. The room has a telephone, resource material, and names of patients who have requested spiritual care from a representative of their respective faith groups. The room is kept locked and the entry code must be obtained from the hospital's Spiritual Health Practitioner.

If a community faith leader is unable to visit one of the members of their faith group in the health care facility, they may contact the staff Spiritual Health Practitioner to visit them. Staff Spiritual Health Practitioners are trained to provide multifaith spiritual care which means they respect the faith of any person to whom they offer spiritual care, helping the person to find spiritual strength and comfort in the tradition to which they belong.

For information about registering with Spiritual Health, and the time and place of orientation sessions, contact the Spiritual Health Practitioner at Victoria General Hospital (250-7274278).