Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


James F. Fisher Jr.


Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, Visitation, Elderly, Seriously Ill


Christianity | Practical Theology | Religion


The purpose of this Doctor of Ministry action research thesis is to identify the support offered to the seriously ill and elderly by local faith-based communities, to compare the identified interventions provided, to discuss the population’s needs and satisfaction with their local hospitals, and to discuss the results in the context of the population of seriously ill and elderly community members, and explore opportunities for Good Samaritan Medical Center (GSMC), Lafayette, Colorado, to partner with local religious communities to improve the well-being of the seriously ill and elderly in their community. This project will include the analysis of needs and guidance on opportunities for program development and partnerships. Local visitation ministry leaders of Evangelical, Catholic, Protestant, and other religious communities were surveyed to ascertain the current support, its scope, the needs of those receiving support, and views on a hospital-church partnership using their volunteers. A qualitative approach was used to survey the ministry leaders who responded to the email and telephone calls soliciting participation. Most respondents believed those they visit have significant non-medical needs and grief and would like to partner with GSMC to provide more support for the seriously ill and elderly in their homes. Social, emotional, and spiritual support in the home is associated with lower mortality, fewer rehospitalizations, and greater well-being. The responses suggest a religiously diverse leadership team from the hospital should be engaged to approach the broad religious and non-religious community (schools) to enhance participation.