Care and Support during Life's Critical Moments

Care and Support during Life's Critical Moments

These resources are recommended by Center for Congregations workshop presenter Patrick Riecke, who is director for chaplaincy at Parkview Health. Riecke facilitated the workshop Care and Support during Life’s Critical Moments in November 2017. For additional resources, contact the Center at 866-307-2381 or check out the Congregational Resource Guide at

Gawande, Atul. Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, 2014. 
Dr. Gawande's book focuses both on medical procedures and living conditions in later life. He addresses the reality that decisions are often made for those near the end of life primarily to ensure safety at the expense of retaining autonomy, especially when adult children are making the decisions. Rife with scenarios and stories, Being Mortal also tackles some of the toughest decisions.

"Hospital Visitation 101." Ministry Magazine, 2006.  Accessed July 24, 2017.
This article is a helpful introductory piece on visiting the hospital. Both philosophical and practical, it will provide the reader a good framework for making hospital visits.

Ihrig, Timothy. What We Can Do To Die Well. Ted Talk video. 13 minutes 32 seconds. September 2013.  Accessed July 24, 2017.
This talk, from the perspective of a palliative care physician, raises the questions of how we discuss end of life with patients, what matters at the end, and customizing meaning-making for each individual. Dr. Ihrig describes his first interaction with a truly terminal patient and how that has influenced his career ever since.

Roberts, Stephen, ed. Professional Spiritual & Pastoral Care: A Practical Clergy and Chaplain's Handbook.  Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2012.
This book reads like an advanced resource book on how to approach pastoral care professionally in a healthcare setting. Although intended for chaplains, this resource will deepen any congregational leader’s ability to provide spiritual care to those in a difficult situation.

Wolfelt, Alan. The Mourner's Bill of Rights Wallet Cards. Fort Collins, CO: The Center for Loss & Life Transition, 2003. 
A helpful pocket guide to those in grief, the Wolfelt Center’s Bill of Rights affirms what those in grief may be feeling. Many who have received this small token have felt as though their grief was normalized and healed.