An Introduction to a Novel Intervention, "This is My Story", to Support Interdisciplinary Medical Teams Delivering Care to Non-Communicative Patients

J Relig Health. 2021 Oct;60(5):3282-3290. doi: 10.1007/s10943-021-01379-3. Epub 2021 Aug 12.


This set of three case studies portrays a unique intervention undertaken at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a goal to reduce the impact of absentee visitors during patient care on physicians, nurses, and the patient's loved ones. The intervention, known by the acronym TIMS, "This is My Story", involves a chaplain-initiated telephone call to a loved one, someone who has been identified by the patient as part of their care discussions, of hospitalized patients who have difficulty with communicating to the medical team. The call is recorded then edited for conciseness, and attached to the electronic health record for the entire medical care team to hear. The focus of the chaplain lead conversation with a loved one centers around gathering and presenting information about the patient as a person. Medical team members listen to the edited audio file either on rounds or by utilizing a hyperlink in the electronic health record (EHR). The audio file is two minutes or less in length, as this is the optimal size for comprehension without overburdening the care provider. While conducting the interview, there is an opportunity for chaplains to provide spiritual and emotional support to loved ones and medical staff, contributing substantively to patient care, as is illustrated in the case studies.

Keywords: COVID-19 interventions; Chaplain interview; Loved one’s absence; Moral distress; Moral injury; Pandemic; Response to isolation; Telechaplaincy; This is my story; Visitor restrictions.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Clergy
  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2