Auxiliary helps Delta Hospital care for spiritual health

There is a new face around Delta Hospital these days and she is there to help make patient visits a little easier.

Spiritual health practitioner Marilyn Chan joined the hospital last fall.

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"Really we're here to promote emotional and spiritual health," Chan said, adding she is there to support patients and their loved ones during those dark moments that can come with a hospital stay.

She is at the hospital three days a week thanks to funding from the Delta Hospital Auxiliary.

"The auxiliary believes that spiritual care is an important part of healing and wellness," said president Robbi Schultes. "She is so wonderful and supportive," Schultes said. "It adds so much to the comfort of the patients and their families."

Chan also lends support to staff at the hospital.

She was the pastor at a church in Richmond before being drawn to spiritual health care. What she does on a day-to-day basis at the hospital isn't solely based on religion.

Chan and Philip Murray, spiritual health leader with Fraser Health, said the role of a spiritual health practitioner is not to force religion on a patient and their family.

"As health care professionals, we view spirituality as being a universal experience," Murray said.

"It's that inherent part of each person."

If a patient is religious, Chan is able to steer her work with them in that direction. If not, Chan said she is still able to offer comfort and support in a non-religious manner and interact with people from all walks of life. While the role of religion can help, it's not necessary, she said.

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