This year has directed a spotlight on York Hospital’s frontline caregivers: individuals who are by our patients’ sides along every step of their health care journey. These essential workers attend to our patients’ physical needs in many ways: diagnosing, nursing and healing, monitoring; providing nourishment; making sure patient rooms are clean. However, sometimes patients need care that is not of a physical nature.

During the course of this ongoing pandemic, we cannot emphasize enough the extent to which spiritual care has been essential for our patients and their families, especially now when people can’t physically be with their loved ones because of COVID restrictions. Our spiritual care team has taken it upon themselves to maintain the re-imagined Loving Kindness Chapel as a quiet oasis for families in need of a chance to regroup, refresh, pray or meditate. YH chaplains make rounds and visit with patients, which right now might mean donning full PPE to simply sit by a bedside, or stand with a patient’s family member in the hallway. Our chaplains – David Holroyd, June Kapitan and Pamela Brouker  – provide a lifeline between COVID patients and their families, supplementing what clinical experts are able to do. For those reasons, on this Thankful Thursday, we honor our chaplains and the profoundly meaningful care that they provide to our patients and to our YH community.

It is fitting to pay tribute to our spiritual care team at an interval of the year when people of many faiths and spiritual leanings come together in celebration, and during a week of the calendar year that includes the winter solstice and Christmas, both of which symbolize the finding of light and hope during darkness. In addition, with COVID numbers currently surging, the commencement of a vaccination program at York Hospital this week provides another tangible symbol of light and hope.

So today, in this literal and figurative season of darkness, thank you to our chaplains for reminding us that there is light, and that hope is real. Thank you for doing the essential and sometimes heroic job of honoring our human need to connect and making that possible during this time of unimaginable social distancing. We appreciate you and we thank you.