Hospice and JW
I am a bereavement coordinator with a hospice company. I have noticed that most often JW patients decline chaplain care and also the family ends up declining bereavement care. Where I work our chaplains DO NOT proselytize at all...they merely walk with the patient in their faith at the end of life. What can we do to serve our JW patients better as chaplains and bereavement coordinators?
You possibly did not intend it, but your query has a but of a patronizing tone. If people decline your service, why would you be interested in finding out how to 'serve them better'? They've declined your service. Respect their wishes. That's all you have to do. I take it they are not bereft of support and back up from their fellow believers? Or are they left to fend for themselves - even if that's the case, that's their business - they do not need you, as well meaning as you are.
From a JWs perspective, whether you promote your beliefs or not, they would believe you are not in "the Truth"; that is, you are affiliated with what JWs call, "false religion". I would not put it that way - but they would if they felt safe about opening up to you. From their perspective, contact with you would jeopardize their own standing with their fellow believers and their God, Jehovah.
Besides. if your services were as "nonreligiously" inclined as you claim, why do you refer to the care you provide as "chaplain care" with its connotations of Christian-based care (even if not overt).
I doubt JWs are unique in this regard. You must have other religious groups that decline your services such as Muslims, Exclusive Brethren etc. Besides, you make an assumption that there is somehow something that needs to be done so that you can better serve them. Listen to them and respect their wishes.
BTW, I am atheist (and also a registered clinical psychologist,) and if I were in hospice care and approached by chaplaincy services, I probably would also decline not because I necessarily disagree with your work (which must be very welcome by most patients). It's not personal - it's just not my thing.
Actually some of the best experiences I've had have been with atheist. Being a hospice chaplain isn't about religion its about helping people finding a peaceful path towards death. I can't think of a better term than chaplain care to use.
Clearly, you are a very accepting and generous-natured individual. Not all people are so inclined. You will know that coming to terms with one's mortality and especially the imminence of one's death is hugely personal and whilst you may talk about "some of the best experiences being with athiests", the focus needs to be on what indivduals believe is best for them at this time. Besides, your comment reminds me of the refrain, "Some of my best friends are...."
True, the term "chaplain care" may be a totally suitable term and as you say, "I can't think of a better term" - but there also needs to be acknowledgement that for some people that term could be barrier to accessing the services you provide. BTW, that doesn't mean the term needs to be changed. JWs are known to keep to themselves, unless they are sharing their faith with others.
Terry, Do you want anyone to tell you to do something that you do NOT want to do? Do you want them to accept your answer "NO"? Do you get the idea why people decline some services that they do not want to receive?
JWs will avoid anything that could possibly be deemed as religious or spiritual (or chaplain) that does not come from their own Ministers. They will rely on their own Ministers (normally the 'Elders') for direct spiritual help, and their fellow believers for comfort and support during this difficult time.
I assume you are familiar with their publication: "When Someone You Love Dies"? (that link goes to a PDF version).
Having said that, I would expect some kind of help regarding dealing with the 'practicalities' of what to do etc when a close relative dies would be appreciated - I presume you probably already have some sort of leaflet that explains that - death certificate, probate, insurances etc
Terry i am in a nursing home I am pjysically impaired while I appreciate help I resent being controlled having others do my thinking for me how I should feel what I should think If you are of the opinion that your services are mandatetory then spend an hour with me I'll play with your head by the end of the session you won't be so cocky might even start considering a career change do they or even can they teach co ordinators empathy or even common sense
Q.: What can we do to serve our JW patients better?
A.: You are in a difficult position. Were you aware that The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (WTB&TS) is opposed to interfaith or ecumenical events? The reason for this is simple: Jehovah's Witnesses believe that they have THE TRUTH and that all the churches of Christendom are snares and rackets operated by Satan. The only way you could overcome this would be to have a JW minister on your staff, and the catch-22 is that no real JW minister would agree to participate in such an effort.
Last April my dad was in hospice. The chaplain was super nice and wanted to help, but of course my dad said no. They believe that they have the truth and anything you could add would be little more than a dilution of their truth at a time when they're most vulnerable. If they turn you away, respect it and move on. That's not the time to interject yourself where you're not wanted. I'm sure that you believe in what you do, and I think it's nice, but they don't.
In the end this isn't about you, so don't make it so.
The watchtower and tract society pay alot of lipservice to god, jesus and the bible but in reality it is just a belief in seven magical men in new york and though your works and obedience and works to these men and the organization they lead you will survive Armageddon.
The average jw looks at you with disgust and contempt. Thats why they reject your services.