If you or your family members are searching for meaning and comfort as you deal with the stress and uncertainty of illness, you may find it helpful to speak with a chaplain. The chaplains of UCSF Spiritual Care Services offer inclusive support to all people, regardless of spiritual orientation. Their mission is to promote healing by providing patients and their families with compassionate interfaith counsel, open-hearted listening and a caring presence. The chaplains are an integral part of our health care team.

When to have a chaplain visit

People choose to see a chaplain for many reasons – when experiencing fear, anger, loneliness, helplessness, anxiety, grief or loss, or when they simply need someone to talk to. Chaplains also are available for times of celebration, prayer and ritual.

You don't need to be affiliated with a congregation or faith community to call a chaplain. However, if you do belong to such a community, feel free to contact Spiritual Care Services so we can arrange for an in-person or virtual visit with a faith community member of your choice.

Spiritual care services

Our chaplains offer these services to all our patients and their loved ones:

  • Compassionate presence
  • Prayer
  • Guided meditation and relaxation for relief from emotional and physical pain
  • Support for coping with a new diagnosis, long-term hospitalization or crisis
  • Support for grief, loss and bereavement for patients and family members
  • Religious rituals or sacraments
  • Spiritual and emotional guidance in times of stress and trauma
  • Contact and coordination with your home congregation and clergy
  • Life cycle events, including memorial services, weddings and commitment ceremonies, baptisms, blessings and welcome rituals for new babies

We offer these materials for use by patients and their families:

  • Spiritual literature and sacred texts
  • Ritual items for most faith traditions and spiritual practices

We work with other staff members to provide:

  • Support for end-of-life issues
  • Ethics consultations
  • Spiritual assessment and interventions for healing
  • Family support and participation at family-doctor conferences
  • Help in explaining patients' cultural and spiritual needs to medical staff, including treatment preferences and dietary restrictions
  • Advance care planning (in San Francisco only)

When you need a quiet space

Our San Francisco campus offers peaceful spaces for reflection, prayer, meditation and comfort. The calming meditation room and garden at 1975 Fourth Street are on the first floor in room C1401, next to the children's hospital lobby. You'll find smaller meditation rooms near the lounges on the third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the adult facility at 1855 Fourth Street. All are open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The chapel at our Oakland campus – on the main hospital's second floor in room 244 – is always open for meditation and prayer.

How to request spiritual care

In San Francisco

Ask your child's nurse to page the on-call chaplain. We have a chaplain on duty and in-house 24/7. You can also request a chaplain visit using the in-room Oneview system.

In Oakland

Ask a member of your child's health care team to request a spiritual care consultation or page the on-duty chaplain. A chaplain is available at these times:
M-W, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursdays, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Fridays, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays, noon - 10 p.m.