Spiritual Care Coordinator
“We try to meet people wherever they are in their religious or spiritual journey. If we can’t, we help connect them to groups that can,” Glenn Breen says. “It’s all about caring for the human spirit.”
Glenn has been at the IWK for just over 18 years, providing spiritual support for patients, families and staff. He and his team provide care 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and work very closely with faith and spiritual based community groups.
“Serious illness forces us to look at life, and it’s meaning and purpose,” says Glenn. “When I am invited in, it’s my job to listen and try to help them make sense of their experience. This happens with children as well; they might just need a different language to articulate it, such as art.”
The Spiritual Care team also does frontline care and psycho-social response for staff as well. “Staff can experience difficult times as a result of the nature of their roles here,” says Glenn. “We try to create an environment where they can feel comfortable to talk about those kinds of things.”
Glenn says while he cannot use the word “enjoy” to describe how he feels about his job, he does enjoy meeting patients and families. “It’s an honour to be invited into those places and to be in a place of listening,” he says. “Being present and being able to give to people gives me a sense of fulfillment.”
He also appreciates the fact IWK has always supported spiritual care. It’s an organization that values meeting patients and families spiritual needs in difficult times. He loves the relationships and the people and appreciates the fact that every day is a different day here.
Glenn acknowledges there are lots of holidays this time of year – Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza –and that they do their best to recognize those and aspire to meet the religious aspects of all.
A Christmas day service will take place in the IWK chapel at 2pm on December 25. All faiths are welcome.