Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

The Chaplain as the Mediator Between the Patient and the Interdisciplinary Team in Ethical Decision Making: A Chaplaincy Case Study Involving a Quadriplegic Patient

Patients who have life changing injuries may have repeated hospitalizations. Because staff often change it may be difficult for these patients to build trusting relationships with care team members. This can cause problems when the patient faces difficult ethical decisions. The chaplain is sometimes in a unique position to build trust with the patient and to help the patient use spirituality and a sense of values in making these decisions. The following case study demonstrates this with “Wayne”, a spinal cord injury patient in his early twenties. Because of Wayne’s relationship with me as I visited with him over multiple admissions, as his chaplain, I was able to mediate between Wayne and the treatment team when he faced with an ethical decision.