EDITORIAL / administrators CIUSSS give themselves three months to review the offer spiritual services to institutions in the region, a period that seems very short to complete such a serious approach and heavy consequences.
Last month, management announced a string of measures to achieve savings of around fifteen million. Embedded in the lot of cuts, the abolition of the chaplain at the Chicoutimi hospital went almost unnoticed. However, as explained by journalist Gagnon Melyssa this morning, this decision marks the beginning of a complete overhaul of spiritual care across the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
There is reason for concern.
The risk of losing the pastoral care in hospitals in favor of an outsourced entity, presumably less accessible and above all, less adapted to specific patient needs, is a very disturbing threat. Especially if one wants to limit the 8h to 16h service, as reported by a usagère, Émérentienne Bouchard.
Spiritual distress is a recognized diagnosis, which can be treated with tablets. It requires the intervention of a specialist in the subject, graduated in theology and able to support people who, in most cases, face death. The intervening role in spiritual care (ISS) is far from limited to the Word of God. Its mandate does not convert a person to a belief or recite prémâchées answers. Facing death, he did not promise the existence of a tunnel and a light just to alleviate fears of his patient.
The ISS will tend rather the ear and will be there in the progress of the patient, in his quest for answers; in its reflection on the meaning of life and the meaning of death. To fulfill such a mandate, the health system and social services can not be based on volunteers who, despite their good intentions, does not have the tools.
The CIUSSS can articulate its thinking only about the budgets he has to meet. Administrators must have a vision and a broader understanding of the case and connected with it. It would therefore be appropriate that those responsible for this restructuring do use specialized resources, such as teachers of theology department at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. It is not there to remove the religious symbols of a city hall or the National Assembly, but to ensure that no patient is deprived of a necessary aid in a time of revolt, of denial, suffering and extreme vulnerability. Accompanying relatives is also a term that can not be assumed by a nobody.
The CIUSSS the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean has an operational budget of more than $ 707 million annually. The abolition of a chaplain at the Chicoutimi hospital, a task four days a week, will allow the organization to save 63,000 dollars. What will happen about other pastoral services? In 2014, the hospital Alma lost a priest so that today they are only seven in the entire region, in addition to four lay people.
Is that enough to serve a pool of some 280 000 people, long led by the Catholic and plagued by an aging population? The CIUSSS was given three months to find the answer.