How has the Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care team adapted during COVID-19?

4 Mar 2021, 6:12 p.m.

Senior Chaplains Romana and Dorothy in St Christopher's Chapel

During COVID-19, the Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care team at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has been busier than ever.

The team has been going the extra mile to provide families with as much comfort and support as possible.

Here, we speak with senior Chaplains Dorothy and Romana to find out more.

Always there for GOSH families

Recently, more people have sought support from the Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care team.

“Perhaps it’s to do with not being able to have friends and family close at hand. Or the issues and worries that the pandemic has raised for people,” Dorothy says. “Everyone wants to talk and that is what we are there for.”

Visiting restrictions have added to the burden many already face coming to GOSH.

“It’s been inspiring to see the resilience in our families, but it has undoubtedly been tough. Many are already far from home and facing huge challenges with their child in hospital.”

As a result, teams from across GOSH have rallied together to be there for families.

“It’s been a hard year for everyone. However, I have seen the best in everyone – the passion that staff all have, to come together and support these families,” Romana says.

“We’re having psychosocial meetings regularly for each ward, so we can all support families together as one team.” 

Romana standing next to statue

“We’ve had to think creatively”

At the start of the pandemic, the multi-faith Chaplaincy team had to rethink how they could still be there for families if they couldn't visit in person.

“Like many teams, we had to think creatively about how we could still be available to families, patients and staff. It was challenging because some of our team had to shield," Dorothy says.

The team adapted by offering more support online – through tools such as Zoom and FaceTime.

Today, this online support continues – as well as their regular presence on the wards and units.

“Many people who use our service have told us that having someone check in with them on the phone or via digital platforms meant a lot," Dorothy adds. "Even if we couldn’t physically be present."

As well as talking and listening to families, the team can pray with families via virtual means.

The team has also had to rethink how to approach major events, such as the Trust’s carol service and annual memorial service.

“We’ve had to find new ways to make them available and meaningful for those who would like to engage with them,” Dorothy explains.

Staff support

The multi-faith Chaplaincy team is there for everyone at GOSH.

During the pandemic, the team has played a huge role in supporting staff, as well as families.

“Staff have found it useful to access the chaplaincy team for their wellbeing and support. It has been a privilege to listen, care and support," Romana says.

“Staff support has also increased because many of our staff have been affected, personally as well as professionally, by the pandemic,” Dorothy adds.

You can help us support the hospital

By donating to our Families Appeal, you'll be helping to support our multi-faith Chaplaincy team.

Your donation today could also help towards:

  • Vital services including the hospital Play team, which helps patients understand their treatment and cope with separation from peers and siblings 
  • The social work team who, like the multi-faith Chaplaincy team, provide family advice and support now, and in the months ahead. 
  • Family accommodation so mums and dads can stay close by while their children undergo treatment