Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Chanukah and Passover are the Jewish holidays that most of us have heard mentioned or know something about. Each one is steeped in tradition passed down from generation to generation, such as eating apples dipped in honey, fasting for 24+ hours, lighting a menorah for eight straight nights and consuming only matzah instead of bread for a week, which begins with a Passover Seder. The holidays, for the most part, are celebratory, recognizing the long-held Jewish philosophy and belief of the sanctity of living life. But what happens when a Jewish man or woman is affected by an advanced illness? Does care change at all for a Jewish hospice patient in conjunction with Judaism practice?
Jewish Hospice Certification
For Chapters Health System and its affiliates—Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice—clinical excellence goes beyond medical knowledge and skills. It is important that the organization provides culturally appropriate care to patients of all faiths and belief systems, and of all heritages and traditions. This is why all affiliates are accredited and are re-accredited every year by the National Institute for Jewish Hospice (NIJH).
What Does This Mean?
Attaining NIJH certification signifies the commitment by Chapters Health to know and respect the traditions associated with dying and death in the Jewish community.
At Chapters Health, the entire staff is trained to identify the specific religious and traditional needs of its Jewish hospice patients. These needs can vary significantly within the faith. Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice meet their Jewish hospice patients where they are in practicing their religion. This sensitivity and understanding make the staff more aware of patient needs and how to meet them for Jewish hospice patients and families.
All three Chapters Health affiliates attained and maintain NIJH certification with annual training and education for caregivers conducted by NIJH experts. To enhance this training, Chapters Health developed an online self-learning module, Caring for Jewish Hospice Patients, as part of its ever-expanding educational curriculum.
Extending Jewish Hospice Understanding into the Community
With the heightened level of religious and cultural understanding of its Jewish hospice patients, Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice have been able to extend understanding into the community. The entire organization has developed meaningful relationships with local congregations in Citrus, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties.
Equally important for the caregiving staff is the support they give to Jewish hospice patients who are not particularly religious and may not belong to a local synagogue. For secular Jews, it is important to know and understand Judaism and its traditions. Even though patients may not be connected to their community, it can be important for them to honor traditions at death.