The role of a hospice chaplain is distinctive, providing spiritual aid and compassion during end-of-life care. Renown Hospice Chaplain Bert Snyder brings a unique voice to the multi-disciplinary Renown Hospice Care team. He discusses how encouraging patients to share their life stories can bring final peace.
Snyder has always been passionate about the medical field, as well as excellent patient care. And formerly a paramedic, he was happy, having no plans to change careers. Suddenly one evening this changed. Unexpectedly, he was dispatched to save the life of a critically injured 12-year-old. “I led my team to do everything that we possibly could to save the life of this patient, but we came to a point where we realized medicine had limitations.”
He vividly remembers holding the child in his arms as he passed away. “And at that moment I realized that I wanted to be in the more holistic care of the person,” he shares. Above all, his longing to incorporate spirituality, psychology and emotional care to patients drew him to end-of-life care.
End-of-Life Care as Art
“I believe we bring art to the final stages of one’s journey,” he explains. “We really are a canvas of many different colors representing an incredible care team. And we meet you on that canvas and learn your story.”
Also understanding the person, and partnering with them, provides an unmatched care experience in this chaplain’s opinion. “It’s care that includes not only the patient, but the family as well. I come into your home, on your turf, I listen to your needs and your questions.”
Tell Me Your Life Story
Equally important, he acknowledges we all have unique stories to tell. “When patients tell their stories oftentimes they experience peace through processing the emotions that come up to the surface. The stories are worthy of hearing.”
The stories of his patient, a heroic, World War II Navy veteran, fondly come to mind, “I got to know their family, I learned the names of their grand kids and I learned the ways in which this man wanted to be remembered. He was able to release and surrender to this final stage of his life and experience a lot more comfort and peace.”
Furthermore, by being a compassionate witness to this man’s stories, Snyder relays the outcome. “He was memorialized at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery honoring his specific desires.” Because of this, his family was able to turn something sad into something very beautiful.
The Greatest Gift – Peace
“The most important part of my job is bringing a patient and a family peace,” he shares. “We’re able to provide answers and comfort in a situation that doesn’t have to be scary. Electing Renown Hospice is choosing the best quality of life.”
Finally, at the end of each day Snyder makes time to reflect. “As I’m driving home I remember the faces, I remember the stories. I remember the tears and the laughter that I’ve been able to share.”
Renown Hospice Care provides compassionate expertise and support for end-of-life care, meeting the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of patients and families.