Belfast Trust hospital chaplaincy and clergy visiting

Monday August 3rd 2020

Guidance for Church of Ireland Clergy visiting parishioners in Belfast Trust hospitals has been issued by the Trust’s Church of Ireland Chaplains.

This advice is current for the Belfast Trust, but guidance in other Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland will differ.

Church of Ireland Chaplains in the Belfast Trust are the Rev Rosie Morton and Mrs Sanna Mallon.

Restrictions still apply to all Belfast Trust Hospital sites:

  • The patient is asked to nominate two visitors during their hospital stay, one of whom may be clergy
  • One visitor allowed at a time for less than one hour
  • Contact ward prior to visit, as unit or ward may not be permitting any visitors due to medical specialty (eg Cancer Centre, Specialist Surgical Units) or current circumstances
  • Chaplains, as Belfast Trust employees, are not counted in visitor number and can visit

When Clergy visit:

  • It is a requirement to be bare beneath the elbow during a ward visit
  • Nurse in charge of Unit will advise on level of Personal Protective equipment required
  • Clergy still need to be vigilant and keep two metre distance, no physical touch, regular hand-washing

How Chaplains are working just now:

  • Chaplains are able to do ward visits and referrals can be made by clergy, family, ward staff
  • Chaplains are working ecumenically due to staff risk of Covid-19; staff shielding, etc
  • Chaplains are providing staff support
  • A Chaplain is part of the Bereavement Support Team: providing phone support to families whose loved one has died of Covid-19 / not Covid-19 in hospital, at home or in a nursing home. Phone calls are made at: 24-48 hours after death, after one month and after three months. In addition information booklets for dealing with death and grief during Covid-19 are posted out
  • In time, Hospital Memorial Services will be held

How to make a referral to Belfast Trust Chaplains:

  1. Phone switchboard: 02890 – 240503
  2. Chaplain telephone line: 02896 – 150182 or 02896- 150183

Be encouraged by feedback from patients and relatives:

  • ‘Phone support does not feel second best because life is, as it is, during Covid-19’
  • Creative solutions for pastoral support are essential and appreciated: via zoom, Whatsapp, face time, phone call. ‘Just good to know someone cares, great to have a phone call’

Lead Chaplain: Rev Derek Johnston

Church of Ireland Chaplains: Rev Rosie Morton and Mrs Sanna Mallon


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