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(Courtesy photo). Art Bakewell is the new directoror af pastorl care at Bert Fish Medical Center.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- To further provide patients with whole-person care of the mind, body and spirit, Bert Fish Medical Center welcomes Art Bakewell as its new director of Pastoral Care, who comes from Florida Hospital Deland, where he has led the pastoral program for almost 10 years.
Aligned with BFMC's Planetree tradition of whole-person care, Florida Hospital core values include faith and prayer as a complement to traditional medical treatment.
The Pastoral Care program is designed to attend to the spiritual needs of patients as they heal physically. Volunteer chaplains are available 24/7 to pray with patients and families, perform rituals and sacraments requested by patients, or to connect patients to their own church or clergy member.
Bakewell says that he looks forward to building upon the existing spiritual resources available at Bert Fish, including its volunteer chaplain program, meditation room, and prayer request team.
BFMC currently has volunteer chaplains who partner with local clergy to provide spiritual support to patients during their stay. In addition, the hospital has a meditation room for relaxation and prayer. A prayer request box is available to patients in the meditation room.
BFMC's parish nurse ministry consists of retired nurse volunteers from local churches who are able to offer extra care that staff nurses can't always get to, such as spending extra time to answer questions about lifestyle changes, community resources and more.
Many of the parish nurses take fellow church members to doctor's appointments and visit patients after they are discharged from the hospital. The Pastoral Care program uses a community-integrated approach that engages active participants from local congregations.
Bakewell said he expects to recruit additional volunteer chaplains for the new program.
"We typically need 20 to 40 volunteer chaplains for a hospital," he said. "Most of our volunteer chaplains are ministers from local congregations, but we also offer training to those who would like to serve. We teach volunteer chaplains how to offer pastoral care to patients and families in the clinical setting."
As part of the new Pastoral Care program, every patient will receive an initial visit from the chaplain to inform him or her that pastoral care services are available, including a spiritual life assessment. During this assessment, the chaplain will meet with the patient and discuss his or her spiritual resources and needs. The assessment is completely optional.
"Spiritual care is always patient-driven, and the patient must expressly state that he or she wants this care," Bakewell said. "Chaplains focus on the patient's needs, not our own. We ensure that the patient and their families are cared for in a manner that is consistent with their beliefs,"
In the past, Bakewell has performed baptisms, dedications, anointings, and even weddings for patients, employees and hospital volunteers. He has encountered many patients who don't have access to pastoral resources or those who don't belong to a specific church.
The Pastoral Care program provides spiritual care counseling to those who want it. But it's not about changing someone's faith, says Bakewell.
"When a person goes to church, it's appropriate for a minister to share what he or she believes because that's the very reason that the person is visiting the church - to learn about its belief system," Bakewell said. "When a person comes to the hospital, it is because of a physical ailment. We don't use a person's disease as an opportunity to change his or her beliefs. We don't tear apart the faith that has sustained them all of their lives."
Bert Fish Medical Center is the leading provider of choice for the people of Southeast Volusia County and is a focal point for the community in the promotion of health, wellness and the seamless delivery of integrated and comprehensive health care. Through its efforts, the health of the community and the quality of life are enhanced. Bert Fish Medical Center merged with Adventist Health System and became part of the Florida Hospital Network of Care on July 1, 2010.