Spiritual Care, Grief & Loss Services

When our patients and their families face losses, changes or challenges, UW Medicine offers compassionate, respectful spiritual care and grief and loss services to ease suffering and help open a path forward.

We can provide grief consultation, counseling, helpful handouts and community resources to aid in your process. We also understand the significance spirituality has in the lives of many of our patients and staff, and our trained spiritual care providers are here to help support you and your family.

Grief and loss support following a death:

Contact UW Medical Center grief and loss services social worker Carol Kummet at 206.598.1614 for:

  • Telephone consultations and referrals
  • Telephone or in-person grief support sessions
  • Information about support groups
  • Referrals to grief support in your community

Social work support while in the hospital:

Social workers at UW Medicine hospitals and clinics work every day with patients and families going through the same kinds of challenges and feelings you are experiencing. Social workers specialize in preventing and treating the social and emotional difficulties that can arise from or be made worse by illness or injury.

Ask your care team to connect you with your social worker or call the UW Medical Center Social Work and Care Coordination Department directly at 206.598.4370 for support with:

  • Grief during a chronic illness
  • Grief from a sudden injury or new diagnosis
  • Information on children and grief

Other bereavement options from UW Medicine:

  • Meet with a UW Medicine spiritual care provider.
  • The UW Medicine palliative care team is here to help you and your family navigate grief related to diagnosis and illness.
  • Find local and online bereavement support resources.

How to contact a spiritual care provider:

From your cell phone or from outside the hospital, call 206.744.3000 and ask for an on-call spiritual care provider to be paged. From a hospital phone, dial 0 for the operator.

A chaplain is available Monday-Thursday during daytime business hours. To request spiritual care, call 206.368.1805 or ask hospital staff to call for you.

The hospital provides a quiet room for meditation and spiritual reflection in D wing on the first floor at the foot of the stairs leading to the main hospital building.

Call 206.598.9174 to speak with a spiritual care provider. If you get voicemail, please leave a message and a spiritual care provider will be paged.

Learn about spiritual care services at Valley Medical Center.

How spiritual care can help:

Spirituality and spiritual care can be important for:

  • Coping with life transitions
  • Dealing with challenges, trauma and losses
  • Feeling alone, anxious or uncertain
  • Adjusting to a new diagnosis
  • Making difficult healthcare decisions
  • Celebrating the arrival of a baby
  • Recovering from illness or injury

Whatever you are facing, spiritual care may contribute to your healing process and provide comfort and peace.

What spiritual care providers offer:

Our spiritual care providers offer culturally sensitive emotional and spiritual support to patients, families, friends and staff, regardless of your religious, faith or spiritual tradition.

They are available to serve the diverse spiritual needs of our community by offering: 

  • Emotional and spiritual comfort and support during times of crisis, loss, injury or illness, including life-threatening illness and the end of life 
  • Compassionate listening 
  • Prayer and meditation 
  • Sacraments or rituals, such as baptism, communion, blessing, anointing and viaticum 
  • Connection with clergy of various faith traditions, including contacting your faith, religious or spiritual community to help support you while you are in the hospital
  • Resources in many different faith traditions 
  • A list of local congregations and faith communities

Please reach out to us if you would like to talk to a spiritual care provider for any reason. 

Written resources for grief and loss:

  • A Time to Grieve: Meditations for Healing After the Death of a Loved One by Carol Staudacher
    This book accompanies you through the difficult time of grief. Written to connect with you wherever you are in your grieving process, this book is appropriate regardless of when your loved one died. As long as you are still feeling the effects of the loss you will find meditations here that will speak directly to your experience.
  • In Lieu of Flowers: A Conversation for the Living by Nancy Cobb
    There is no wrong way to grieve, but the story of how the author managed to face the deaths of her parents and other loved ones provides a healthy model. Written with intelligence and humor, this book reminds us to stay connected with our loved ones both living and deceased.
  • Midlife Orphan: Facing Life’s Changes Now That Your Parents Are Gone by Jane Brooks
    This book helps adult children to understand and grieve the changes that occur in their lives when their elderly parents die. Often we use the word “orphan” to refer to small children, but even middle-aged adults can feel the pain of being an orphan.
  • Mourning and Mitzvah: A Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner’s Path Through Grief to Healing by Anne Brener
    For those who mourn a death, for those who would help the bereaved and for those who face a loss of any kind, this book teaches you the power and strength available to you in fully experiencing the grieving process.
  • Safe Passage: Words to Help the Grieving by Molly Fumia
    This easy-to-read book of meditations on grieving is very helpful. By using both quotes and original writings the author guides us through the passages of grief toward healing and hope.
  • Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen, illustrated by Taylor Bills
    This illustrated book is for both children and adults who have experienced a death. The main character is Grandy who has suffered a major loss. Grandy’s tear soup comforts her and helps fill the void in her life that was left by her loss.


Clinical pastoral education:

Clinical pastoral education (CPE) is an accredited form of pastoral education for seminarians, clergy and laity. Harborview Medical Center, with educational placement at University of Washington Medical Center, is a CPE center accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. Learn more about our CPE program and how to apply.