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Spiritual Care

Serious illness and hospitalization can be a difficult experience for patients and their loved ones. Spiritual care at UC Irvine Health is a crucial element of healthcare that helps humanize the medical environment.

Research shows that spiritual care can lead to better pain management, positive coping strategies and shorter hospital stays.

Our mission and philosophy

Spiritual care can be interfaith, interdenominational or religion-specific. We respect and represent a diversity of faiths and moral traditions.

Spiritual care practice

We do not proselytize. You do not need to be religious or belong to a particular religion to receive or benefit from spiritual care.

Our services include:

  • Contacting your own spiritual leader
  • Being your companion in prayer
  • Attending to general religious and specific sacramental needs
  • Welcoming and blessing newborns
  • Committing loved ones to the afterlife
  • Consulting among physicians, family and significant loved ones regarding spiritual and ethical dilemmas

    In addition, chaplains perform several other services around the hospital environment, including:

    • Providing and maintaining the prayer/meditation room, located near the main lobby of UC Irvine Douglas Hospital (room 11).
    • Attending to prayer requests. You may write a note to the chaplains and drop it in the box marked “prayer requests” in the meditation room. These confidential requests are attended to each day by the chaplains during their formal prayer time.
    • At the request of the patient, the patient’s family or medical professional, chaplains can join the palliative and trauma teams to provide spiritual and emotional support.

      Chaplains are in-house spiritual mentors for staff, providing an ear and a pastoral point of view. Medical professionals may consult chaplains to help discern spiritual or faith-related issues in the service of their patients.

      Spiritual care staff

      Lead Chaplain Father Joseph Nguyen holds an M.A., M.Div. and doctorate in moral theology and biomedical ethics. His associate chaplain, Pastor Pirjo Carlisle, holds a master’s of divinity in pastoral care. Both chaplains have advanced clinical pastoral educations and many years of experience. They are able to perform multilingual and multicultural services.

      Nguyen and Carlisle oversee a volunteer staff of clergy, chaplain interns, ministers and lay religious leaders who assist in the care of patients, families and staff.

      For more information about the Spiritual & Pastoral Support Program, contact Lead Chaplain Joseph Nguyen at 714-456-6157 or email nguyenjs@uci.edu or Associate Chaplain Pirjo Carlisle at 714-712-1749 or email pcarlisl@uci.edu.