Chaplain Provides Spiritual Care to Improve Patients’ Overall Health

Advocate BroMenn Medical Center Chaplain Janet Proeber helps Clinic staff and patients observe Ash Wednesday.

Janet Proeber is a board-certified chaplain at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. She pays us weekly visits as part of a partnership between BroMenn and the Clinic to develop a spiritual assessment program for our patients.

Jan says research shows that providing spiritual care in outpatient clinics has a positive impact on overall patient care.

“It adds to the holistic picture — you’re not just paying attention to the physical body, but spiritual and emotional health as well.”

Jan explains she doesn’t only mean religion when she talks about spirituality.

“Everyone is spiritual.” Whether it’s music, gardening or praying, she says spirituality is about whatever helps people make meaning out of life’s difficulties.

“It’s about connecting people to what’s holy for them.”

Since the program started in January, Jan says she’s seen a great response from patients to the offer for spiritual care.

“The stories people tell you, if you have the time to listen, reveals information that’s critical for care providers to know in addressing their medical needs.”

Sometimes patients just need a listening ear, someone to cry with, vent to or pray with, she says.

By the time the program ends in May, Jan will have developed a spiritual assessment tool specifically tailored to the needs of Clinic patients. She says she hopes the guide can be replicated for other outpatient clinics.