The Chaplaincy Team at UHMBT is here to help meet the spiritual and religious needs of patients, their relatives and staff at the Trust. This can be done through direct contact with members of the Chaplaincy Team or by being put in contact with someone, outside of the hospital, who can help meet a spiritual or religious need. This may be a local church leader, or an imam or other faith group leader, or a philosophical belief group.
The Trust operates on 3 main sites and there is a lead chaplain for each site. These are:
Rev Debbie Wilde - Site Lead Chaplain
Debbie belongs to the Methodist Diaconal Order. Having been a hospital chaplain for the last 12 years she is deeply interested in the creative arts and spirituality, spiritual development throughout life and end of life care. She loves playing in orchestras, dancing and living and working in such a beautiful part of the world.
Telephone: 01229 403715
Rev Ian Dewar - Site Lead Chaplain and Trust Chaplaincy Team Lead
Ian is an Anglican priest who grew up in Lancaster – attending Moorside Primary and Ripley. He now finds himself back home. Allotmenteer, bread maker, sports fan with a keen interest in Russia having been able to spend some time there just after the collapse of communism. He has a particular interest in end of life care, and the power of stillness and silence to help people at critical points in life – not that he’s very quiet himself!
Telephone: 01524 519231
This post is currently vacant but recruitment is due to take place soon.
All 3 site leads are supported by a team of volunteers who engage in ward visiting and/or acts of worship along with other projects as opportunity arises. All volunteers are interviewed by the respective site chaplain and receive training in order to be able to fulfil their role.
Projects and services
The Chaplaincy Team at UHMBT engages in a whole range of projects. Much of their work is designed to create opportunity for reflection and meaningful conversation about life, healthcare and well-being.
Every year in the UK an organisation known as the Dying Matters Coalition https://www.dyingmatters.org/ organises what is called Dying Matters Week. This week given over to highlighting the importance of thinking about death and dying for all of us in order to help us live better now.
The Chaplaincy Team, in partnership with the Palliative Care Team, takes part in the week in our respective areas.
In 2017, we launched our #MyLastOrders cafes across the Trust.
In 2018, we hosted a debate on Physician Assisted Suicide called Life is all about Choices:
In 2019, we looked at Putting the Humanity back into Death. With Kate Brewer from Poppy’s funerals we looked at: How can we meet one of the great social challenges in our society – funeral poverty and dying well with a sustainable business?
Take a look at 10 Myth busting funeral facts.
'My Last Orders' is a project run by chaplaincy to help people talk about life and death, but hopefully with plenty of cake!
Essentially the chaplaincy team set up a café for group of people in the community such as local charities, 6th form pupils from local Secondary Schools or it is invited in to organisations.
The café supplies coffee and cake and people sit in small groups. They are given a set of cards with questions on from a pack called Grave Talk. These cards contain questions such as: ‘What is your greatest achievement?’ ‘What was your first experience of grief? People are simply asked to talk about these without the pressure to get a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.
This café has now become part of the junior doctor training at the Trust and you can see this in action here:
This is a service that we run at Furness General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. It is incredibly sad if you are in one moment excited about the thought of childbirth and the next stunned by a miscarriage or stillbirth.
The service offered by the Chaplaincy Team is a short service, lasting just a few minutes. It consists of prayers and silence and is a chance to mark out respectfully a life that will remain unfulfilled. It can very often be the case that few people knew of the pregnancy and so, therefore, few people will appreciate the pain that such a loss brings.
The services for the Royal Lancaster Infirmary take place on a Thursday morning and for the Westmorland General Hospital as need arises.
The Baby Loss Service is an annual event that takes place at both Furness General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in November. It is designed to help people to have space once a year to reflect on their loss and mark out what is a significant event in life with respect.
The service is not just for those who have had a loss in the preceding 12 months. Some people come back regularly and we are very aware that because of the way stillbirth and miscarriage has been handled in the past, that there may be many people of an older generation who may not have had the opportunity to grieve a loss. They are very welcome at this service
The Lost Art of Living© is the title given to the Lancaster Health Festival, which was an idea developed by the chaplaincy team in 2017. Working with partners from across the City of Lancaster, the festival grew from engaging with 500 people in 2017, to engaging with 2000 people in 2018 and 4000 in 2019. Plans are now under way for 2020.
The festival has one simple aim: it is to give people the space and the opportunity to talk about health and well-being without feeling that they have to get the right answer. Health for one person might be about exercise, for another person it might be about getting out once a week for a coffee and cake because it limits social isolation, for someone else it might be getting out to see a band.
The festival is held in Lancaster and is looking at building ideas that can be copied elsewhere in the Trust’s area. It is:
- An experiment
- A way of understanding that health and well-being is more than tablets and surgery
The festival takes place around the time of the autumn equinox, when the days start to get shorter than the nights, as this is good time to think about how we look after ourselves and our neighbours.
The dates for 2020 are to be released.
To keep up to date with developments visit http://thelancasterhealthfestival.org.uk/
Christmas at UHMBT
This year, because of the pandemic, we are unable to go on the wards and sing - so we've taken to new technology. We have produced a series of thoughts for the day accompanied by a piece of seasonal music. In some cases, this music is original to the chaplaincy, as talented musicians and singers have given their time and talent for free. Thank you!
Who doesn’t like a good sing, even if it is just in the shower? BBC Radio Lancashire has brilliant idea called Lancashire Sings Christmas. In short, you sign up download a carol sheet and sing along with the radio. Every year at the RLI we gather with patients and staff in Medical Unit 2 and just have a great (not always tuneful) sing.
Every year our charities team have a light up a tree service at Furness General hospital and the Royal Lancaster Hospital. This is done in partnership with chaplaincy.
This is a research project initiated by chaplaincy that is taking place at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. Its full title is: A pilot investigation of a mindfulness course for people with incurable cancer.
The evidence base for Mindfulness Based Interventions, specifically for those with cancer at the palliative stage is currently very small; a recent systematic review with this focus identified only three randomised controlled trials with purely palliative stage cancer patients (Latorraca et al., 2017).
We want to see if we can help people to discover a skill that might make the latter part of their journey through more meaningful.