Hospital Chaplains Face COVID-19 Challenges in their Ministry

The Times Union interviewed two chaplains from St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) about the challenges they are facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chaplains Tahlia Hadley and Aloysius Kabunga, who also serves as manager of Spiritual Care for SPHP, discussed how fear over the virus among patients and social distancing, have impacted their ministry.

From the story:

“This is something I was not trained for. Some patients, those who are non-COVID, are scared of us when we come in because they have to be protected. We’re also being very protective of ourselves. We don’t know who has what,” Kabunga said standing outside the entrance to St. Peter’s Hospital.

“Prior to this pandemic so much of this was personal connection. The chaplain would come in and the patient wasn’t scared you were going to spread something to them,” Kabunga said.


Before the extent of the coronavirus was known, Tahlia Hadley, a chaplain at St. Peter’s who is Catholic, was exposed to a patient who tested positive during her rounds at the hospital. She felt the fear that came with learning about her exposure.

“It’s really scary to get that phone call and be told you were exposed to a positive patient,” said Hadley, whose test came back negative. She worried about her family.

“I wouldn’t change anything about that visit. That was a very powerful conversation with that man. I helped him in prayer. I felt it was important that I was there as a chaplain at that time,” Hadley said.

At the end of life, patients in hospice care also are impacted by coron

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