Pastoral Care

Fulfilling Our Mission

In keeping with the three-fold ministry of Christ--healing, preaching and teaching--Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto is committed to providing quality health care. Because we believe in the total care of patients, our pastoral care department concentrates on the spiritual needs of our patients. The chaplains at Baptist DeSoto provide pastoral care for the religious, spiritual and emotional needs of patients and their families in the face of a new diagnosis; when dealing with the unknown; and in anticipation of death, grief and loss. At times, the hospital staff chaplains serve as facilitators of communication among the patient, family, hospital staff and physicians. Chaplains are available around the clock to provide compassionate care, comfort, and support through listening, prayer and scripture reading and to explore bioethical issues.

Our Chaplains: Comfort, Care and Compassion When You Need it Most

Baptist DeSoto chaplains provide spiritual care, comfort and support for patients and families. They serve as resources in the crisis of hospitalization by helping families and patients find the strength to deal with natural fears, worries, doubts and questions which may arise in the face of illness.

Baptist DeSoto's full-time staff chaplains must:

  • Have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.
  • Have a Master of Divinity (91 hours) or equivalent from an accredited institution.
  • Have four units (1600 hours) of Clinical Pastoral Education from an accredited institution.
  • Licensed and ordained Southern Baptist ministers.
  • Practical church ministry experience (3+ years).
  • Eligible for denominational endorsement.

Pastoral Care for Patients and Families

The hospital staff chaplains are available to respond to requests for pastoral care from patients, family members, staff and/or physicians. Chaplains make daily visits to newly admitted patients, promptly follow up on referrals from the nursing staff, and respond to all "Code Blue" events and deaths. The pastoral care staff is committed to being consistent, available, and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond promptly and efficiently with compassionate care, especially in times of crisis and at the time of death.

Chaplain-Provided Pastoral Care Services

  • Listening
  • Compassionate care and comfort
  • Prayer, Lord’s Supper, baptism
  • Pastoral Care consults and assisting with tough decisions when patient/families are uncertain
  • Follow up on nursing and physician referrals
  • Crisis ministry (all “Code Blue” events)
  • Grief facilitation, funeral and memorial services
  • Devotional materials
  • Contact local clergy (priest/rabbi) and family
  • Resource person to facilitate ethical consultation
  • Serve as patient advocate
  • Assist in completing advance directives (living wills).

Contacting the Pastoral Care Staff

Patients and their families may call the pastoral care office Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at 662-772-4251 and leave a voicemail message if no one is available to take your call. In the evenings and on weekends, the patient's nurse and/or nursing house supervisor can reach the chaplain on call by paging 901-227-7243, pager #0345.

Nursing house supervisors, operators and security have access to the monthly chaplain on-call schedule with all appropriate phone numbers for reference. A chaplain is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to serve you.

Volunteer Chaplains and On-call Coverage

Baptist DeSoto patients and families are served around the clock by two full-time staff chaplains and volunteer chaplains on call after hours (5:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m.) and on weekends. Volunteer chaplains, led by the staff chaplains, meet on the second Wednesday of every month at noon for lunch, continuing education and training. Local clergy who may wish to know more about the volunteer program should contact the director of pastoral care at 662-772-4258. Volunteer chaplains need to be close enough to be able to reach the hospital within 30 minutes.

Chapel Services and Special Worship Observances

Baptist DeSoto provides daily chapel services Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. for patients, families and staff. The staff and volunteer chaplains conduct these daily prayer services, which usually last approximately 15-20 minutes. Chapel services are also broadcast live internally on hospital channel 7.

Special holiday/worship observances are coordinated by the pastoral care staff chaplains for the following:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • Easter

The chapel is located across from the cafeteria and right down from the gift shop on the second floor and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All are welcome. We invite you to visit, reflect, and feel at peace in this space devoted to spiritual healing for people of all faiths.

Advanced Directives (Living Wills)

As a courtesy, Baptist DeSoto's pastoral care and palliative care departments offer information and consultation regarding advance directives (such as living wills, durable powers of attorney for health care, and health care directives). Our staff will explain the use of these documents, how they differ, and answer questions. Anyone may request this service - you need not be a patient or family member. Advance directive forms are free of charge to the public. Upon request by an individual, Baptist DeSoto will keep a copy of advance directives in the patient record of anyone who has a medical record at this hospital.

Employee Services

Baptist DeSoto staff chaplains are available to hospital employees for emotional support, crisis intervention, and spiritual and religious consultation on a confidential basis. We lead staff devotionals and prayer times for departments as requested. The director of pastoral care leads the hospital's senior leadership, department directors and managers in devotionals and prayers at their scheduled meetings.

Employee Emergency Assistance Program

The Director of Pastoral Care facilitates the Employee Emergency Assistance Program. This is an emergency assistance program funded by employees through the Baptist Foundation.

Anyone who has been employed with Baptist DeSoto for at least 90 days is eligible to apply. Financial assistance is awarded in any amount up to the maximum of $500.00 for any individual employee who qualifies per calendar year. Applications may be obtained by contacting the Director of Pastoral Care. All applications are reviewed in prompt and timely manner on a case-by-case basis by a team of hospital representatives.

Funerals, Memorial Services and Wedding Ceremonies

The hospital staff chaplains are available, upon request, to conduct funeral services and wedding ceremonies.

Ethics Committee

Baptist DeSoto has an ethics committee that seeks to accomplish the following primary objectives:
  • Educate itself, the hospital staff and physicians, and the community regarding the discipline of ethics as an essential tool for the practice of medical care in the complexities of health care today.
  • Be a consultant in development of hospital policies and procedures related to patient rights and ethics.
  • Provide a multidisciplinary forum for ethical case review.

The ethics committee is an interdisciplinary team representing the following areas: medical staff, nursing, social services, risk management, and administration. The staff chaplain serves as the facilitator for the ethics committee.

Family members, patients, hospital staff and physicians may request an ethics consultation. To institute an ethics consult, please page the pastoral care department at 901-227-7243, pager #0345. You may also contact the pastoral care department at 662-772-4251 and leave a message. A member of the pastoral care staff will respond promptly to your request.


Baptist DeSoto staff chaplains work closely with physicians as they treat patients and interact with families. Staff chaplains are also available for case consultation and spiritual care for physicians. Physicians interested in this opportunity may contact us.

Community Involvement and Ministry

Baptist DeSoto staff chaplains serve as a resource for the community. We provide pulpit supply for local clergy as requested. We are available to provide intentional training in pastoral care and hospital visitation to lay people, deacons and church staff members. We relate to the local Baptist Association. We can provide education and information to support groups on a variety of topics, such as:

  • Grief and loss
  • Recovery
  • Stress management

Continuing Education for Clergy

Baptist DeSoto, in affiliation with Baptist Memorial Hospital Memphis and other Baptist regional hospitals’ pastoral care departments sponsors a continuing education seminar for Volunteer Chaplains and clergy in the fall. These seminars are intended to increase the pastoral competence at the intersection of ministry, spirituality and health.

Previous workshops include:

  • "Applying Families Systems Theory in Ministry with Families in Crisis,"
  • "Application of Family Systems Theory for Pastoral Leadership," and
  • "Hope in Pastoral Care.”

Additionally, chaplains are available to clergy for consultation regarding specific issues in pastoral care. To make an appointment for a consultation please contact us at 662-232-8177.

Contact Us

Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto

7601 Southcrest Parkway
Southaven, MS 38671



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