Can I get married whilst I am in hospital?

You can get married in hospital, but only if you are not expected to recover or cannot be moved to a place licensed for weddings. The senior doctor looking after you has to sign a written statement confirming your circumstances. The chaplaincy team will then be provided with these details, along with the emergency number for the superintendent registrar who would need to oversee the arrangements. Please contact the chaplaincy department for advice if you would like to get married.

Can my baby or child be baptised or blessed?

When your baby or child is seriously ill, going for major surgery, or if treatment is being withdrawn, you may like to request a baptism. In these circumstances a referral will be made by staff to the chaplaincy department. These are called emergency baptisms. If your baby is born with no health problems your request will be referred to your own church community. 

Unfortunately, baptisms cannot be performed for those who have died. The chaplains will offer a naming and blessing service instead. They may also perform a non-religious naming service if this is preferred. 

“We would like you to know how much your presence throughout our recent time in hospital has meant to us. The christening of our little angel was such an important element in her care, and knowing that it happened is helping us to heal.”

Can I request a chaplain for someone who is dying or has died?

You can request a chaplain to attend someone who is dying or who has died via the ward staff. Chaplains will attend the dying and those who have died, and can provide support and any appropriate services or prayers. They may also contact representatives or leaders from the major faith groups, if you request this. If a patient has died who has no identifiable relatives or carers, then chaplains may be called if there is reasonable cause to suggest that the patient would have wanted this. 

“I would like to prayerfully thank you for all the comfort that you brought to my daughter during her last day in the cardiac ICU at Southampton Hospital.”

What are link chaplains?

Each chaplain has specific responsibility for the spiritual care within each clinical care group. This means that although they will not be the only chaplain visiting that area, they will be primarily responsible for patient support there. They will coordinate other chaplaincy visits there from colleagues and volunteers, and will be responsible for staff support and building up relationships with staff in that area. They may also be part of multiprofessional groups where appropriate, and will facilitate staff training around spiritual care. 

Who are healthcare chaplains employed by and accountable to?

Healthcare chaplains are employed by the Trust in which they work and are subject to the HR policies of that organisation. In addition, they are also required to have accreditation from the faith group they represent. Their professional body is the College of Healthcare Chaplains, which is affiliated to the union, Unite (previously Amicus). Healthcare chaplains are bound by their profession’s code of conduct and healthcare chaplaincy standards.