Cancer patients are oftentimes running an uphill race with the destination of a normal life following treatment. Now they have some extra encouragement to reach their goal through guidance from The Rev. Angela DeVore.
DeVore recently became the chaplain at Heartland Cancer Center, which is part of the St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center family. She divides her time between the cancer center and Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice, another St. Rose family member.
“At the cancer center I am providing pastoral care to chemotherapy and radiation patients, as well as their families,” DeVore said. “But at Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice, I offer bereavement care. There is a huge difference between the two.
“Cancer patients are running uphill to reach the end of treatment and get back to their regular routine,” DeVore said. “Those who are bereaved feel they are sliding downhill and are trying to find a way to stop or at least slow down.”
In virtually every situation at the cancer center, she noted, patients tell her that their cancer diagnoses have given them a different way of looking at life.
“They are seeking a more purposeful life, and are often full of hope and optimism,” DeVore commented. “Maybe there is a lesson there for all of us.”
Nurses, technicians and other staff members are always aware that cancer patients may need pastoral care as they make their journey, DeVore said.
“Our compassionate staff members look out for the patients here and refer them to me if they are concerned,” DeVore said, noting that seeking pastoral care is strictly up to the individual. “I can meet with them here, other health-care facilities in the area or someplace else.”
DeVore also is available to help patients who request spiritual rituals such as an anointing or baptism, and communion or other church service. “No matter what their beliefs, we will do all we can to help them find comfort in their own way,” she explained.
In addition, DeVore collaborates with Touched by Cancer, the Heartland support group.
Mark Mingenback, St. Rose director of business development, noted that the cancer center had been without its own chaplain for several years.
“But thanks to the St. Rose Foundation Board of Trustees, Angela is now available,” Mingenback said. “The trustees voted to provide financial support through our Patient Care Fund. All of us understand that spiritual health is crucial for many people, and this type of support has been proven to aid in their recovery.”
St. Rose is part of Centura Health, which connects individuals and families across western Kansas and Colorado with more than 6,000 physicians, 15 hospitals, seven senior-living communities, physician practices and clinics, and home-care and hospice services.