NORTH CAROLINA -- Hospital chaplains are standing behind the front line workers, providing support and close connection.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed several aspects of the way they give that support. Shree Jones is one of five full-time chaplains at Forsyth Medical Center now having to adjust to a new approach to patient care. She sees between 10 to 12 patients per day who are all facing their own challenges.
According to her, the mission "is to be that compassionate presence, to open the door for conversations about hard things." However, in some cases, for patients who test positive for COVID-19, she can't be in the room
She has taken several calls from behind the door in recent weeks. Chaplains are also used to providing spiritual support for not only the patient they're seeing but, in a lot of cases, some of their family members.
Visitor restrictions are putting that part of their job on hold. But, while they're seeing fewer family members, they're seeing more of their peers.
Chaplains throughout the Novant Health System are doing a weekly virtual "code lavender." It's a program that allows hospital staff to take a break and talk about how they're feeling.