Healing body, mind and spirit at Woodwinds
When patients come to Woodwinds Health Campus, they expect to be treated for injuries or ailments pertaining to their bodies. Sister Marian Louwagie, however, expects to take treatment one step further. She focuses on the patients' spirit.
"We want to treat every aspect of every patient who enters this hospital," Louwagie, a certified chaplain, says. "We place a high priority on body, mind and spirit, and take the extra effort to meet all needs, not just medicine."
Insightful and compassionate care
Louwagie doesn't need a stethoscope to help her listen to patients' vital signs; she gathers information by listening, interpreting and connecting with patients on a spiritual level. Often accompanying staff on their rounds, Louwagie listens to how the diagnosis may affect the patient’s or the family's emotional health, then offers her services to those in need. "I try to be a sensitive listener and incorporate what I’m hearing into helping patients cope and find strength," she says.
"My heart goes out to each patient I meet. Some patients are going through such complex medical issues," Louwagie says. "My hope is that we can provide assurance that even in the worst of times, they are not alone." Louwagie says she and Woodwinds are blessed to have the support of wonderful volunteers who assist in delivering Spiritual Care services.
All are welcome
One of Louwagie's goals is to learn more about religions other than Christianity so that she can be more accessible to patients of all faiths. "We all need to work on the general principle of knowing how to be comfortable with our differences." Louwagie regularly networks with area pastors, priests, rabbis, clerics, elders and other faith-leaders who call on patients at Woodwinds. The interfaith chapel in the hospital is always open and includes a copy of sacred books such as the Koran and the Bible. Even though the department and its volunteers see 75% of the patients at Woodwinds, Louwagie knows the need is great. "The prayer request box never seems to be empty," she notes. "We are just a piece of the healing circle, but that circle needs to be complete in order for the healing process to succeed."
For more information about how the Woodwinds Spiritual Care department can be of assistance to you, please call 651-232-0062.