Caring For Members During COVID-19

by Jared Littleton

In a season where the pandemic is causing us all to scramble, we wanted to offer a series of emails to give ideas about how to do this next phase of church

As one of your UMC Clergy colleagues that serves in hospital chaplaincy, I wanted to pass some advice about the care of members of your congregation that may be hospitalized.

First, new visitation policies have been implemented at the Cleveland Clinic. They are:

  • Visitors who are sick, have a fever or a confirmed case of COVID-19 should not visit or accompany a patient.
  • Patients are limited to one visitor at a time. Visiting hours will be 8 a.m.–noon and 4–8 p.m., with no visitors allowed at night. We will ask visitors to wear a badge or wristband. Exceptions will be made for pediatrics, hospice and other patient issues determined by the care team.
  • We are requiring everyone to wash their hands or use sanitizer before and after leaving rooms and hospital buildings.

It is my impression that all other area hospitals will be implementing the same policy.

Please note- this applies to clergy! The usual professional courtesy that allows clergy to visit outside of normal visitation policy has been suspended at this time.

If you want to reach out to a hospitalized member, I strongly recommend calling them or contacting them electronically. This is the safest way for everyone involved.

If you feel the member needs in-person spiritual care, please contact the spiritual care office at the hospital in question. As clinically trained chaplains, we are trained specifically for care of patients that have contagions. We are in a good position to evaluate if it is possible to visit the patient in person and can visit patients safely when it is deemed appropriate. This is a good use of the connection- please let us serve you in this way.

This link is to the CDC website that the Cleveland Clinic considers the gold standard when it comes to information on the Coronavirus.