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Spiritual & Religious Care

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Spiritual Care

Rooted in Healing and Hope

Spiritual & Religious Care

Spirituality can help you regain and maintain your health and cope with difficult experiences. It can help you find meaning, value and connection, especially during difficult times.*

Spiritual Care staff are integral members of Niagara Health inter-professional teams. They are members of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC) and full time staff members are registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). They work with patients, families, staff and volunteers. You don’t have to be religious to benefit from spiritual care. We strive to support all types of spiritual expression: religious practice, personal relationships, artistic creation, a connection to nature and more.

 We can help you:
  • Connect with your spiritual resources
  • Find meaning
  • Face anxieties and fears
  • Express feelings in your own way
  • Think through healthcare decisions
  • Participate in prayers or rituals

When to ask for Spiritual Care:

  • In response to a request from a patient, family member, or friend.
  • When faith, spirituality, meaning-making, or all of these together is obviously important.
  • When a patient, loved one, or staff member seeks a religious or spiritual ritual.
  • When a patient, their family members or everyone involved, is struggling with impending surgery, prognosis or diagnosis, death and dying, or significant loss.
  • When a patient or their family’s spirit seems troubled.
  • When the treatment team requires a religious or spiritual assessment of a patient.
  • When a patient is separated from or has few visible supports.
  • When a patient is close to death or has died.
  • When staff seek support when faced with workplace challenges.

(Spiritual) Self Assessment Tool

You are invited to contribute to your own medical record, providing information that local research has shown to be important to patients and health care providers alike.

You can fill out a (Spiritual) Self-Assessment Tool either:

  • before you ever go to hospital (so as to have the information on hand when it is really needed), or
  • while in hospital (as an inpatient, outpatient, Emergency or Urgent Care patient).


Common misconceptions about Spiritual Care

“What if I’m not a religious person?”

You do not need to be religious to benefit from spiritual care. Spirituality is about finding meaning, value, and connection, especially during times of difficulty.

“Will you try to convert me?”

No. Spiritual Care Professionals respect your spiritual and religious beliefs. We are not here to change them.

“Is the Spiritual Care person a volunteer from a church?”

Spiritual Care Professionals are employed by Niagara Health. We are professionally trained to work with people in the hospital. After-hours and on weekends, part-time spiritual care staff are available to assist in urgent situations.

“Is spiritual care only for someone who is dying?”

No. Spiritual Care at Niagara Health is for everyone seeking personal growth or coping with change, illness, or loss.

“Is Spiritual Care available for employees of the hospital?”

Yes. Spiritual Care is available for all patients, families and staff.

Clinical Psychospiritual Education (CPE)

Clinical Psychospiritual Education is an experience-based approach to learning  in spiritual care which combines the practice of spiritual care giving with qualified supervision and group reflection. This dynamic and integrative education model assists persons in achieving their full potential in the practice of spiritual care.

The program is for:

  • Healthcare professionals deeply committed to the spiritual aspect of health and wellness
  • Adult Learners seriously drawn to spiritual care in a hospital setting
  • Seminary students seeking CPE Units (or an intensive field education experience)
  • Faith community leaders and lay pastoral caregivers seeking further skills and knowledge

The next offering of CPE at Niagara Health is  expected on January 2024 and September 2024.

For more information please contact Trish Archibald, Provisional Supervisor Educator for CPE at Niagara Health at , 905-378-4647, ext. 43105.

Information for Visitors Representing Faith Communities

Faith community leaders (ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, elders, etc.) along with lay visitors designated by their faith community are welcomed, encouraged and provided with resources for their work as they care for their faith community members hospitalized within Niagara Health.

Registration of all spiritual care visitors is carried out by the Spiritual and Religious Care (SPRC) Department. Applicants must complete:

Registration form; note that signing this form indicates agreement with SPRC Standards.

Letter of Endorsement; a letter on official letterhead stating they are appointed to visit hospitalized congregants.

A Hospital Orientation and photo I.D. will be scheduled once documentation is received. Please email to get yourself in the queue. (you will hear back within a couple weeks with next steps.)

Faith Communities are upheld by Niagara Health as “Third Parties” (i.e. institutions aligned with and work inside the hospital). As such, the Chief Medical Officer of Ontario’s pandemic, Directive #6 applies, meaning all Faith Communities must have signed Attestations plus up-to-date Third Party Statistics on record at Niagara Health.  Please contact Donna Hollands-Hurst for further assistance with this.

Questions or concerns?  Please contact Donna Hollands-Hurst at or 905-378-4647 ext. 42103.

COVID-19 Update

Spiritual Care Visitors must have a copy of their Faith Community’s Directive #6 Attestation Form on their person, and must pass COVID-19 screening at the hospital entrance(1).

As of Monday, February 7, 2022, they must come to the hospital outfitted with a fit-tested N95 mask and a face shield (which PPE items are provided by the Faith Community).

Other reminders: Spiritual Care Visitors must wear their photo ID; they must wear additional PPE as posted at the door of the patient’s room (and, for those who have not recently done “donning and doffing” training, they should ask staff for help/direction); they must not bring food or drink into the patient’s room; if they are performing a rite such as anointing or Eucharist, they must first read and integrate the Infection Practice and Control document below.  Remember that daily print-outs of patients by their faith group/community are provided in the same secure locations as pre-pandemic.

(1)The quickest and most efficient way to ‘Screen in’ is by printing and filling out the on-line screening form before your visit, and bringing it with you to show the screeners. Visit the Visitor Information page - then download the Printable Screening Form under the heading “Fill out the online Screening Form”.

Infection Prevention and Control Procedural Guidelines for Spiritual Care for Suspect/Confirmed COVID-19 Patients

Updated July 26, 2021

  1.  When possible, items going into the patient room must be disposable (e.g. photocopy prayer/scripture pages which can be disposed of inside the patient room, bring elements of communion in disposable containers and bring anointing oil on a cotton swab in a plastic bag).
  2. Where something must be removed from the patient room afterwards because of required religious practices (e.g. the used cotton swab for incineration), ensure you have a plastic bag and follow the removal procedure as outlined below.

Please follow the steps below when visiting a patient:

Step 1: Prepare all essential items for spiritual care.

Step 2: Follow the steps to put on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Please watch the Infection Prevention and Control Donning and Doffing video for more information. Please type, or copy and paste, the following link into your web browser to view the video: There is also signage posted outside of the patient’s room.

Step 3: Enter the patient’s room with the items required and a plastic bag if necessary.

Step 4: After you have completed spiritual care, remove your PPE. Please watch the Infection Prevention and Control Donning and Doffing video for more information (please see the link above). There is also signage posted outside of the patient’s room.

Procedure for removing items from the patient room:

When certain items cannot be disposed of in the patient’s room due to religious practices, follow these steps:

Step 1: While still in the patient’s room, place the item (e.g. cotton swab with anointing oil) in a plastic bag and remove your gloves. Perform hand hygiene inside the patient’s room.

Step 2: Put on clean gloves inside the patient’s room. Clean and disinfect the plastic bag with the bleach wipes located inside the patient room.

Step 3: Remove PPE inside the patient’s room and perform hand hygiene before exiting.

Please contact a member of Niagara Health's Infection Prevention and Control Team if you have any questions.

Explanation for asking about your religion

When being admitted, you will be asked whether you want your record to list a religion, and secondly a specific church or congregation.

This is for two reasons: foremost, the hospital intends to support and facilitate your religious requirements whenever possible (e.g. dietary, spiritual/ritual, medical). We also support and facilitate the work of your congregation’s visitors in attending to you.

It is, of course, completely within your rights not to declare your religion or church/congregation. Your choice in this matter will be entered, maintained for present/future reference and respected as part of the hospital information used to provide for your care while in hospital.

You may change this information at any time simply by notifying the Admitting Department.

When providing this information, please be as explicit as possible. If you belong to a specific church/congregation, please tell us.


*With thanks to the Spiritual Care Department, University Health Network, Toronto, for permission to adapt some of their communications.

To contact someone from Spiritual Care, contact a staff member listed below directly or call the Niagara Health switchboard at 905-378-4647 and ask for Spiritual Care.

Rev. Bob Bond, Coordinator of Spiritual & Religious Care

905-378-4647 ext. 32385

Rev. Bob Bond, Coordinator of Spiritual and Religious Care Reverend Bob Bond has been a coordinator of Spiritual and Religious Care with the Welland County General Hospital and then Niagara Health since 1990. He is a husband, father and grandfather. Bob has been a leader of several anti-poverty initiatives and programs in Welland. Bob is a Registered Psychotherapist – Certified Spiritual Care Practitioner and Psycho-Spiritual Therapist. Since 2010, Bob has been an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University, teaching at the Niagara Regional Campus of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. In April 2018, Bob was recognized with the Verda Rochon Award for Distinguished Service by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. Read about the honour here.

Rev. Trish Heidebrecht-Archibald, Staff Chaplain

905 378-4647 ext. 43105

Rev. Trish Heidebrecht-Archibald, Staff ChaplainTrish Heidebrecht-Archibald provides spiritual care to in-patients and their families at the St. Catharines Site in all areas other than Mental Health and Oncology. Trish is both a hospital chaplain and a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and is a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), and the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC).

Donna Hollands-Hurst, Staff Chaplain

905 378-4647 ext. 42103

Donna Hollands-Hurst, Staff Chaplain   Donna Hollands-Hurst is a chaplain who provides spiritual care to patients, families and staff on both Inpatient and outpatient mental health units at the St. Catharines Site. She has been with Niagara Health since 2009. Prior to this, Donna was a member of the Chaplaincy team at Brock University. She also has several years of experience in teaching secondary students and adults (new Canadians). She completed spiritual care training at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton and received her theological training at Regis College at Toronto School of Theology. She holds Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees. Donna is a Certified Spiritual Care Practitioner with the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC) and has served as Regional Chair of this professional organization. She is also a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

Nathan Kendall, Staff Chaplain

905 378-4647 ext. 32381

Nathan KendallNathan is the Chaplain at the Greater Niagara General Site. Nathan is a graduate of Niagara Health’s Spiritual Care Residency in 2019, and of Martin Luther University College with a Master of Arts (MA) in Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy in 2021. Nathan brings an eclectic approach to his practice by using his gifts as a musician and his experience working as a mental health counsellor in the community. Before joining Niagara Health, Nathan worked as a multi-faith chaplain for St. Josephs Villa in Dundas, ON.  He is a member of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC/ACSS) and a Registered Psychotherapist - Qualifying with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Nathan is a husband and father of three young boys.

Terry Siolkowsky, Staff Chaplain

905 378-4647 ext. 44240

Terry Siolkowsky is a multi-faith chaplain and psychotherapist with Niagara Health since 2019. He can be found at the Niagara Health St. Catharines Site providing spiritual care, psychotherapy/counselling, and crisis support to patients, caregivers, and staff. He primarily supports the Walker Family Cancer Centre, the Mental Health Units, as well as general inpatient medical units. Terry comes to us with a Master of Arts in Counselling and Spirituality from Saint Paul University in Ottawa as well as clinical training and experience from the Saint Paul University Counselling Centre, The Ottawa Hospital Clinical Pastoral Education Program, and the Niagara Health Clinical Pastoral Education Residency. He is currently a member of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC) and he is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

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