Manager: George B. Vogel, D.Min., BCC
Pastoral Care (Chaplain Service) provides comprehensive and integrated spiritual care in a pluralistic setting for all veterans served by the VA Long Beach Healthcare System (VALBHS). This includes the Long Beach VA Medical Center and three Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC's) located throughout the organization. Pastoral care consultation is available throughout the facility. Pastoral care is based on the assessment and identified needs of the individual patient. Pastoral care works with interdisciplinary teams to provide a holistic approach for treatment.
Every patient receives a visit from a chaplain within 72 hours of admission when a spiritual assessment is taken to determine the spiritual needs of the veteran. That information is entered into the electronic charts.
Patients who require or request regular chaplain visits are followed up. This information is entered into the electronic charts.
A daily service is conducted in the chapel at 0800. The program is rotated between chaplains of all faith groups to provide comprehensive and multi-denominational programs. The chapel is located on the 2nd floor of the medical center is open from 0600 until 2100 for quiet prayer and meditation. Roman Catholic mass is celebrated (Monday-Friday) at 1140.
Sunday Masses – 0900 in the chapel and 1015 in the nursing home.
Sunday Protestant – L-1 (0800), M-1 (0830), nursing home (0900), main chapel (1015).
All services are broadcast live via closed circuit television. All patient areas have access to TV and are able to watch chapel television. When there is no live programming, sacred music is played with the camera focused on the altar.
A chaplain is assigned to hospice and works in conjunction with the hospice staff. The chaplain assigned often interacts with the veteran, the veteran’s family, and with staff.
Pastoral care is involved in post traumatic stress disorder programs as required by other disciplines.
Chaplains provide counseling and lectures for those in the Veterans Village Recovery Center located at the Villages of Cabrillo.
Counseling of a spiritual nature is available by referral as well as walk-in. Pastoral care also provides canteen books for the homeless and disenfranchised whenever resources are available.
Chaplains provide 24 hour coverage 365 days a year. After normal duty hours a chaplain is assigned to respond to any emergency situation that might arise. Each chaplain is provided with a pager to ensure response in a timely manner.
The last contact many families have with the hospital is the memorial service that is conducted on the first Sunday of the odd numbered months. A letter is mailed to the next of kin explaining the grief process and inviting them to the ecumenical memorial service where each veteran is remembered by name. A Marine honor guard presents the colors, a rose is placed into a vase as each name is read as well as a bell being rung, a live bugler plays taps at the conclusion of the ceremony. A priest, a rabbi and a Protestant chaplain all participate in this program with a senior official of the hospital taking part.
Pastoral care service arranges for the Martin Luther King, Jr. program each January in conjunction with equal employment opportunity office. The pastoral care service provides assistance for Black History Month as required.
Previously a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) was offered at this facility training numerous men and women to better serve the hospitalized and to serve their churches in a more competent manner.
The service provides for representatives of the major faith groups as well as having resources to contact other religious leaders as the need may arise. These leaders include but are not limited to the following: Jewish, Latter Day Saints (Mormon), Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslim.