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The Role of the Chaplain.

The role of the chaplain is evolving and changing as the needs of the current times demand.  In the past the word chaplain evoked an immediate identification with word priest.  This was because practically all chaplains were ordained priests, whose role was seen in terms of  administrators of the sacraments.

Now chaplains are both priests and laity, men and women.  We realise that the "whole person " must be cared for, and no one aspect of the person can be treated in isolation.  The physical, emotional, spiritual, and  psychological  well being of the person must be taken into account together.  The chaplain joins the whole of the caring professionals on the hospital staff as part of a multi-disciplinary team in caring for, and ministering to, patients.

One important development  in the understanding of  the role of Chaplaincy has been the establishment of The HealthCare Chaplaincy Board.  The Board was set up following  negotiations between the Bishops and the Department of Health. This board is a self regulatory body, comprising of elected  parties in the HealthCare area, Bishops, Religious, Educators and Chaplains.  The board is responsible for the registration of all qualified HealthCare Chaplains in Ireland, and it's main purpose is to ensure standards in training and practise