The pastoral care office is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am–4:30 pm, but professional chaplains are available 24 hours a day.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System offers a professional chaplaincy program to support the spiritual and emotional needs of patients, families and staff. Chaplains are trained to work in a secular setting, with people of all faiths or even no faith, never imposing their own beliefs, but instead meeting the individual where s/he is. As a member of the interdisciplinary care team, trained clinical chaplains respond to requests from patients, families, and clinicians to provide crisis intervention, spiritual assessments, religious rituals, bereavement care, ethical decision-making guidance, and spiritual conversation consistent with the patient’s own faith tradition and current needs.
At Cannon Memorial Hospital, a clinical chaplain provides group and individual support in the Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit. Spiritual Care Volunteers supplement the work of clinical chaplains through a regular visitation program on the medical units.
AppFaithHealth is a dynamic partnership between faith communities, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, and other community organizations focused on improving health. The partnerships are built on webs of trust, combining the caring strengths of congregations, the clinical expertise of the healthcare system, and a network of community resources. View/Download the AppFaithHealth brochure >
How does AFH Work?
- Faith leaders know when individual members are hospitalized
- Lay leaders have tools and training to provide quality care of congregants
- Faith communities are resourced to stay healthier and safer
- Faith communities help the healthcare system to better understand the community’s needs
- Faith communities have opportunities to provide vital care and support to isolated people in need (for example, through a volunteer driver program)
- AppFaithHealth 101 – Navigating healthcare, insurance, resources, levels of care
- Safe Moves – Best practices for assisting persons with mobility issues
- Caregiver Conversations – What to say, or not say, when I visit someone
- Mental Health First Aid – How to recognize and address a mental health crisis
- Good Grief – Resources for the journey through grief
- Nutrition for the People – How to fuel ourselves for living
How to Participate
Enrolling a Faith Community
- Any faith community across the High Country is encouraged to enroll free of charge in AppFaithHealth. Once a community decides to enroll, leaders sign a simple form that describes our mutual commitment to the program.
- Contact us at (828) 266-1178 with your questions or with your interest in joining. We will be glad to talk to you about how to enroll and at what tier of commitment you desire to join. We can also attend a worship service or congregational event to explain the program further.
AppFaithHealth Individual Member Registration
If you belong to a faith community that is already an AppFaithHealth partner, and you would like to have your faith leader contacted automatically if you are ever hospitalized, feel free to click the link below and sign the HIPAA-compliant form. AppFaithHealth will add this to your medical record, to help make sure you get the spiritual care you need while in the hospital.
If your faith community is not yet a partner, or if you aren’t sure, please reach out to the AppFaithHealth team as we would love to welcome your faith community into our program. Just call (828) 266-1178.
Watauga Medical Center’s chapel is available for personal prayer and meditation for patients, visitors, and staff. Small groups may schedule use of the chapel at Watauga Medical Center by contacting the Director of Pastoral Care. Visitation by religious groups and distribution of literature also should be cleared through the department. Feel free to contact Melanie Childers, Director of Pastoral Care, at (828) 266-1178, or call the hospital main number (828) 262-4100 to ask that the director or on-call chaplain be paged for you.
If you would like to speak to someone about our services, please let us know!