Health Encyclopedia


Chaplains serve in many hospital settings, and some are assigned to rehabilitation units. They act as spiritual counselors to help patients, families, and the healthcare staff members:

  • Through periods of crisis

  • Reaffirm their spiritual beliefs

  • Maintain or establish relationships with a church or house of worship

  • Make daily rounds and on-call 24 hours a day pastoral services

Chaplains may be ordained ministers or priests, or may have attended a chaplaincy or pastoral care program through a university or hospital.

Because rehabilitation focuses on the whole person — physical, emotional, social, and spiritual, the chaplain often plays a special part in helping a person with a disability cope and recover. When a hospital or rehabilitation center does not employ a chaplain, the patient's own clergy or spiritual advisor often performs these functions.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
  • Ogiela, Dennis, MD