L.A. County health workers required to get a flu shot or wear mask

As are all of our employes and volunteers – as of Friday, Nov. 1!  More.

Chapalin Tom moves to parish ministry

Chaplain TomDear Volunteer,

I have just been called to serve as the priest of Saint Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco. As a result I have resigned my position as your Chaplain effective Oct. 24, 2013. While I am excited about serving at St. Cyprian’s, I am sad to say goodbye to you. During our time together we have gone from a handful of dedicated volunteers to a fully functional Spiritual Care program serving our patients throughout the week. Thank you for helping to make this possible.

Thanks also to Vice President and Los Gatos Hospital Administrator Pat Wolfram: her commitment to our program made possible the creation of our Meditation Room as well as making the Chaplain here a permanent part-time employee. Read more of this post

Flu vaccination program returns for our volunteers

Flu ShotsWe’re gearing up for the 2013-14 flu season by offering free flu vaccinations to all of our volunteers and employees.  For the second year in a row, volunteers and employees must either be vaccinated against the flu or elect to wear a mask while in patient areas during flu season. If you choose not to be protected against the flu, or if you have already been vaccinated, please complete this form and send it to our employee health office.  Please be sure that by October 30, 2013 you have either (a) been vaccinated here or (b) sent in your form explaining why you will not be vaccinated here (either because  you have already been vaccinated  or do not wish to be vaccinated and will wear a mask as required).  The free flu vaccination schedule is available here.

How to Conduct Guided Meditation Sessions

Note: This is a hand out from a Spiritual Care Seminar presented Sept. 23, 2013 by Patricia Wood at Los Gatos Hospital.

What is guided meditation?

Patricia Wood

Patricia Wood

Guided meditation is an intentional, focused meditation technique that is very useful for achieving a specific purpose, such as deep relaxation, behavior modification, or releasing negative emotions and self-limiting beliefs.

When is guided meditation appropriate?

First, the persons being guided must agree. ALWAYS ask permission and do not argue about it. No means no.

Guided meditation requires some minutes of quiet, uninterrupted, fairly private space. TV and phones should be shut off and other distracting sounds should be kept to a minimum.

When working with an individual, always ask the person for a situation in which they have felt comfortable and safe. When working with a group, make the situation vague so that each person can go to their own safe place.

Most of us are not trained therapists or doctors or seers so while we may encourage a sense of relaxation, of wonder, of acceptance, of hope, we do NOT promise outcomes, make diagnoses, or guide people toward a specific behaviors.

Some other resources:

Read more of this post

Conversation with Rabbi Philip Lazowski about his 40-plus-year tenure as a hospital chaplain

WEST HARTFORD – In June, Hartford Hospital named its multi-faith chapel after Rabbi Philip Lazowski and the late Fr. John J. Kiely, who worked together as chaplains at the hospital and at the Institute of Living. The naming was made possible by a donation from Rabbi Lazowski’s son, Alan Lazowski, to the Institute of Living’s Depression Initiative.

Lazowski – a Polish Jew whose harrowing escapes from the Nazis as a boy has been immortalized in his memoir, “Faith and Destiny” – is the author of several other books on Jewish ritual and interfaith relations. Recently, he self-published “Why a Rabbi?” — a book whose proceeds will benefit educational programs at The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, where Lazowski is rabbi emeritus, and the Voices of Hope Holocaust-education project. …

Q: You and your wife, Ruth, recently took your family back to Poland to the places where you survived the Holocaust. What were some of the more significant moments during the trip?


A: We went to the town of Zdzieciol [Zhetel], and I showed them the movie theater where my mother pushed me out of the window so that I survived, and showed them the grave of 3,000 Jews who were killed during the first massacre in March 1941. We went to the Bielica Jewish cemetery, where 3,200 people were buried in a mass grave during the second massacre, including my mother, two of my three brothers, and my sister. We visited the Bielica ghetto, where I lived when I was 11, I ran away from the ghetto one week before a massacre of 10,000 Jews, who are buried in a mass grave. I prayed at all the mass graves. Our children and grandchildren were standing there, crying.

We went to the woods where both our families hid. When you suffer and survive, you can relate more to people who suffer.

We were driving along the Krniczanka River near Bielica and it looked familiar and I told my kids and grandkids that I remembered when we were living in the woods, we used to go at night to the village and knock on doors and people would share a little food with us. We turned off the road into the village and found four old ladies sitting on a bench and Ruth started a conversation with them in Russian. We told them our story and the reason we brought our children and grandchildren with us, and I told them that my name was Lazowski. Tears started running down one of the woman’s faces. She said, “We gave you food and my father worked for your father as a fisherman.” We stayed for a while, we sang Russian songs with them. I was overjoyed to thank these women for what they did for us.


In California, Intense Debate Over Home Care

“An important struggle over home health care is playing out in California, the nation’s most populous state, including nearly five million residents age 65 and older.

Unions and organizations representing the elderly have joined together to push for legislation that would license agencies, certify workers and create a publicly accessible caregiver registry. Home care agencies are pushing back, saying they favor regulation but oppose the measures under consideration. The legislation, Assembly Bill 1217, has already passed the State Assembly and was passed out of the State Senate’s appropriations committee on Friday. It will be up for a vote on the Senate floor next week,” reported the NY Times.

Childhood bullying ‘damages adult life’

Bullying in childhood “throws a long shadow” into victims’ adult lives, suggests research indicating long-term negative consequences for health, job prospects and relationships. More.

Life, Interrupted: A Test of Faith

SULEIKA JAOUAD writes: “I still don’t pray or attend church or consider myself religious. But I have a different kind of faith now — a faith in my incredible team of doctors, in the strength of my body and in the power of scientific research.

But I’m still left with a lot of questions. Why did my good friend Anjali, who was also young and had the same disease, not respond to the treatments that saved my life? Part of the answer has to do with science. But the other part is a mystery. And even if I don’t practice a formal religion, I spend a lot of time thinking about why I’m still here.” More.

How to Conduct Guided Meditation Sessions

Patricia Wood

Patricia Wood

Guided meditation is an intentional, focused meditation technique that is very useful for achieving a specific purpose, such as deep relaxation, behavior modification, or releasing negative emotions and self-limiting beliefs.

We will learn about appropriate ways and times to offer guided meditation to patients and we will practice preparing and leading a session for each other.

Patricia Wood is an Interfaith Spiritual Care Volunteer with El Camino Hospital Los Gatos and the Chair and Spiritual Care Coordinator of Mountain Neighbors Helping Neighbors in her rural mountain community above Los Gatos. She is also an authorized minister of the United Church of Christ in covenant with Skyland Community Church, UCC. After a 25 year career in hi-tech, she returned to graduate school to pursue her Master of Divinity in spirituality and the arts, and fulfill a lifelong calling to love and serve her neighbors. Patricia’s experience with meditation and healing arts has its roots in her own path of healing and her mother’s career as a nurse. Her faithful life companions include her husband, Brian, and Bunny, a dedicated lap cat. Please let Chaplain Tom Jackson (408.866.3860) know by Sept. 18 if you will join us at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in Los Gatos Conference Room 2.


Who:                   Spiritual Care volunteers, hospital volunteers, hospital staff and area clergy.

When:                 Sept. 23, 2013 @ 1:30 PM

Where:                Los Gatos Conference Room 2