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Spiritual Care

Serious illness and hospitalization can be a difficult experience for patients and their loved ones. Spiritual care at UCI Health is a crucial element of healthcare that helps humanize the medical environment.

Research shows that spiritual care can lead to better pain management, positive coping strategies and shorter hospital stays.

Our mission and philosophy

Spiritual care can be interfaith, interdenominational or religion-specific. We respect and represent a diversity of faiths and moral traditions.

Spiritual care practice

We do not proselytize. You do not need to be religious or belong to a particular religion to receive or benefit from spiritual care.

Our services include:

  • Contacting your own spiritual leader
  • Being your companion in prayer
  • Attending to general religious and specific sacramental needs
  • Welcoming and blessing newborns
  • Committing loved ones to the afterlife
  • Consulting among physicians, family and significant loved ones regarding spiritual and ethical dilemmas

    In addition, chaplains perform several other services around the hospital environment, including:

    • Providing and maintaining the prayer/meditation room, located near the main lobby of UC Irvine Douglas Hospital (room 11).
    • Attending to prayer requests. You may write a note to the chaplains and drop it in the box marked “prayer requests” in the meditation room. These confidential requests are attended to each day by the chaplains during their formal prayer time.
    • At the request of the patient, the patient’s family or medical professional, chaplains can join the palliative and trauma teams to provide spiritual and emotional support.

      Chaplains are in-house spiritual mentors for staff, providing an ear and a pastoral point of view. Medical professionals may consult chaplains to help discern spiritual or faith-related issues in the service of their patients.

      Spiritual care staff

      Critical Care Chaplain Pirjo Carlisle holds a master’s of divinity in pastoral care and counseling at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. She is an ordained pastor in the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). She is a Board Certified Chaplain and works with Critical Care, Women’s Services, and Psychiatric Care at UCI Health.

      Chaplain Patrick Thompson is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is a Board Certified Chaplain and works with our Palliative Team as well as Medical ICU, Neuro ICU, Burn Unit, and Orthopedics. Patrick also serves on our Ethics Committee.

      Carlisle and Thompson oversee a volunteer staff of clergy, chaplain interns and community religious leaders who assist in the care of patients, families and staff.

      Requisitions for the Catholic Anointing of the Sick are processed electronically by bedside nursing staff to the Chaplains’ Office. Christ Cathedral Catholic Church (Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange) responds during weekdays and during weekends UCI Health Medical Center Priest Fr. Joseph Yang is available.

      For more information about the Spiritual & Pastoral Support Program, contact

      Chaplain Patrick Thompson at 714-456-6157 or email pethomps@uci.edu

      Associate Chaplain Pirjo Carlisle at 714-712-1749 or email pcarlisl@uci.edu

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