MARTINSBURG — For Berkeley Medical Middle volunteer chaplain Eddie Edmonds, a number of a long time have been spent providing a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on and non secular recommendation to these sufferers and their households dealing with one in all life’s inevitable tragedies.
Although he didn’t got down to be one of many individuals providing non secular steerage to these dealing with loss of life, Edmonds stated he knew pursuing a lifetime of spirituality and religion was his calling and easily discovered his strategy to hospital chaplaincy alongside the best way.
“Once I was in seminary faculty a part of my coaching was in medical pastoral training, so I used to be within the hospital throughout that point,” Edmonds stated. “Being there throughout that point confirmed me this kind of chaplaincy was a crucial type of ministry so I made a decision to proceed to discover that after I got here to Martinsburg in 1993 to serve the church right here.”
After contacting Metropolis Hospital, because it was referred to as on the time, and receiving a badge, Edmonds started his volunteer work in 1993 and has been there ever since.
Simply one in all his many pastoral duties, Edmonds stated chaplaincy is extra essential than ever because the world has seen COVID-19, amongst different issues, wreak havoc on the world over the previous yr.
A late-in-life pastor, Invoice Ball stated when he discovered Jefferson Medical Middle was searching for chaplains practically a decade in the past, one thing drew him to filling out an utility and he shortly discovered himself part of Jefferson Medical Middle’s chaplaincy program when it was in its infancy in 2011.
Each having spent a long time in this system, Ball and Edmonds described the chaplaincy program pre-COVID as consisting of many face-to-face interactions between any one of many a number of volunteers at each Berkeley and Jefferson Medical Facilities and the sufferers and households of every heart, the place conversations explored spirituality and the cruel actuality of loss of life in a mild and supportive manner.
Every taking someday of the week, Ball stated chaplains spent their time making their rounds, checking in on sufferers and talking with medical employees about affected person and employees struggles whereas providing any non secular assist they may.
Ball stated when the chaplains weren’t bodily in both medical heart they might stay on name 24/7 in case end-of-life companies had been requested and would even host occasions through the holidays equivalent to Christmas or Ash Wednesday for sufferers at every heart.
In line with Ball, chaplains are in a position to see individuals on a extra non secular and private degree and are an vital side of the healthcare career that many individuals don’t contemplate.
“Being a pastor and a chaplain is a calling – it’s not a job – and we’ve got to keep in mind that we’re solely human… you be taught to adapt by distancing your private involvement however we’re human,” Edmonds stated. “However I don’t take this stuff flippantly. It’s nonetheless crucial that we’re there to supply that assist in each the affected person’s closing moments and a really painful second for the household. It’s a reinforcement that God cares, that there’s something apart from that day and that loss of life and that God is promising to be with them and we simply reinforce that.”
With their very own routines in place and relationships throughout the medical facilities established, Edmonds and Ball described their chaplaincy work as a satisfying a part of their weekly routine that they had every grown to like increasingly more through the years.
“However, as anticipated, COVID fully modified the best way we labored,” Ball stated. “However, even with the modifications, it didn’t undermine our mission to deliver the love and compassion of God to others who’re in want.”
In a line of labor wrought with its personal surprising tragedies and stressors, it appeared chaplains like Ball and Edmonds could be ready for something however, similar to the remainder of the world, neither may have predicted the huge affect the novel coronavirus would have upon its preliminary onslaught.
“Because it introduced itself in the neighborhood, no one actually knew what to anticipate or how it might change our work,” Ball stated. “All volunteer companies had been suspended and the chaplains are a part of that, which meant we couldn’t make our rounds and examine in on individuals like we normally do.”
Ball stated with rounds canceled, the group does what it will possibly by remaining on-call 24/7 and responding to requires service when they’re wanted.
Ball and Edmonds each agreed their work goes past providing prayer and steerage as sufferers and their households face what might be one of many worst days of their lives, although, because the cancellation of volunteer companies on account of COVID-19 meant healthcare suppliers had been with out chaplain assist as properly.
“I normally discuss with the nurses and docs and attempt to develop a relationship with them as a result of they want us simply as a lot,” Edmonds stated. “Particularly throughout COVID, they want any person to know that any person cares for them as properly. We simply need to present assist and care to the sufferers, their households and medical employees however this has made issues very troublesome.”
Edmonds defined that as a result of lots of the volunteer chaplains are older, a further coverage was instituted stating the chaplains would solely go in for finish of life companies or imminent finish of life companies in hopes of defending the well being of sufferers and volunteers whereas sacrificing a number of the time spent constructing relationships with the individuals in every heart.
Whereas vaccinations proceed to roll out throughout the nation and hopes for a return to “normalcy” rise, each Ball and Edmonds stated nobody will be certain of the place a future post-COVID would possibly take the chaplaincy program or what modifications could be made as new info concerning the virus and its vaccines come up.
“I don’t know what occurs from right here as a result of we’ve got to consider… we’re nonetheless within the infancy of the place this might go, so we don’t understand how it will play out ultimately,” Ball stated. “Because the vaccines and immunities grow to be extra prevalent the face-to-face interactions would possibly return and we could be again to what we referred to as regular. However, for now, we should keep cautious and ensure everyone seems to be protected. No matter comes, we’re going to guarantee we’re nonetheless current to supply finish of life consolation and care wherever we’re wanted.”
Keen to adapt to no matter modifications have been made or would possibly come within the continued combat to deal with COVID-19, Edmonds and Ball agreed they’re each merely completely satisfied to supply their non secular assist and assist in sufferers and their households’ instances of want.