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Chaplains serve in many hospital settings, and some are assigned to rehabilitation units. They act as spiritual counselors to help patients and families:
- through periods of crisis.
- reaffirm their spiritual beliefs.
- maintain or establish relationships with a church or house of worship.
Chaplains may be ordained ministers or priests, or may have attended a chaplaincy or pastoral care program through a university or hospital.
Because rehabilitation focuses on the whole person - physical, emotional, social, and spiritual, the chaplain often plays a special part in helping a person with a disability cope and recover. When a hospital or rehabilitation center does not employ a chaplain, the patient's own clergy or spiritual advisor often performs these functions.