Offering spiritual care

October 11, 2017

teepee coulee medical centerCaring for the whole patient often means caring for a patient’s spiritual needs. At Coulee Medical Center in Grand Coulee — where about a third of the patients are American Indian — various practical reasons kept many patients from being able to take part in spiritual practices such as cleansing ceremonies inside the walls of the hospital. While drumming and singing had been done quietly in the hospital, practices such as smudging the air with the smoke of sweetgrass was unable to take place inside.

To offer a space for these types of ceremonies, the medical center added a teepee to its campus, thanks to a grant from the Critical Access Hospital Network. The 26-foot-tall flame-resistant teepee sits on a lawn away from the front of the hospital, and a walkway will be built to allow for wheelchair and gurney access. The Oregon-based company that built the structure had to alter its design to fit a hospital gurney through the opening.

The teepee was installed in mid-September, just in time for the medical center’s second-annual “Gathering of Wellness” powwow — which the medical center sponsored along with Colville Tribal Health — and the Harvest Festival.

Caring for the whole patient is an important element of health care, ensuring that care for physical ailments is coupled with support for the non-physical, such as spirituality. Read more in an article from the Grand Coulee Star. (Tim Pfarr)


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