Chaplaincy’s mission has been to serve others with exemplary spiritual, emotional and physical care. Throughout this year, we have walked through Chaplaincy’s 50-year journey of growth, and we end with the events from the year 2000 to present.
Looking Back on Where We Have Been
We started with Chaplaincy’s early beginnings in the 1970’s. During this time, Chaplaincy generated interest in spiritual care by building awareness of grief care, securing funding and providing grief services to those dealing with death and loss. In the 1980’s, the hospice movement took off. By starting the Hospice program and the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, Chaplaincy was formalized as an organization and at the forefront of our community. They provided end of life care to their first patient in 1981, and the CPE program helped grow the service volume for chaplains and spiritual care. As Chaplaincy transitioned into the 1990’s, the organization undertook its next big endeavor of building a hospice house and counseling center, which received national recognition with the Midland Spirit Award. The next two decades, the 2000’s, showed no slowing in growth or service to the community by providing compassionate grief and hospice care to those in need.
2000 to 2010
By the year 2000, Tri-Cities Chaplaincy had grown to approximately 50 employees. Half were nurses, and the other half consisted of chaplains, counselors, social workers, volunteer coordinators and other support staff. Chaplaincy began providing grief and bereavement services to children and teens through their Cork’s Place program. Spiritual care services were offered in multiple facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, the Juvenile Justice Center and the Benton County Jail. Hospice patients received care in their homes and at the Hospice House. Through this growth, Chaplaincy decided to expand their business operations in several ways.
First, the agency expanded their fundraising efforts with their first Lighting the Path breakfast fundraiser, which benefited the entire agency. This was in addition to the Evening for the Angels, which started in 1996 and benefitted the Hospice Program.
Next, in 2004, Chaplaincy changed its name from Tri-Cities Chaplaincy to The Chaplaincy to reflect the regional care that it provided. In the same year, Cork’s Place moved their services to a new home in Kennewick. Prior to this, they had been operating out of the business offices at the Hospice House. The newly expanded space allowed them to increase their service volume to serve more children and teens in our community.
By 2009, Chaplaincy expanded beyond their capacity and looked at moving into a new space. The planning for the 12,700 square foot Spaulding building began.
2011 to 2019
In November of 2011, the Spaulding building was dedicated and housed five in-home hospice teams, support staff, a chapel and a large meeting room. The agency had grown to 135 employees and numerous volunteers.
In 2012, Chaplaincy recognized the need to better serve the Hispanic community and developed the Hispanic Outreach Team. This team consisted of a bilingual nurse, chaplain, social worker and certified nursing assistant to better serve Hispanic patients and families.
In 2013, Chaplaincy expanded to include palliative care and behavioral health services. Palliative care aimed to increase patient comfort and quality of life by relieving symptoms and stress during the final years of life. Behavioral Health offered counseling services to the community for mental health needs.
As Chaplaincy grew, so did their desire to increase healthcare providers’ understanding of end-of-life care and grief support. From 2016 to 2018, Chaplaincy offered the End-Of-Life Conference with several key speakers focused on caring for the terminally ill and grieving.
With the increase of services offered, Chaplaincy updated its name from The Chaplaincy to Chaplaincy Health Care in 2016. This change reflected the broad range of services that were offered and provided a better understanding of the work they did.
2017 fostered new ideas and fundraising initiatives for Chaplaincy. The first of three thrift stores, called Repeat Boutique, opened in Kennewick. These stores offered a unique thrift shopping experience with profits supporting Chaplaincy’s hospice services. The success of the Kennewick location prompted the opening of the Richland location in 2018 and later the Pasco location in 2020. Cork’s Place also held its first fundraiser in 2017. Heart of Healing, which still occurs on a yearly basis, benefits the programs and services offered to children and teens in our community. This fundraiser features original artwork by Cork’s Place youth and a locally sourced auction.
2020 and Looking Ahead
Up until 2020, Chaplaincy was expanding their services and community outreach. Then, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 and subsequent challenges, the agency was forced to make some difficult decisions.
Palliative Care was closed in 2020, followed by Behavioral Health in 2021. The opening of the Pasco Repeat Boutique store was delayed by three months and the Kennewick and Richland stores were closed. The Richland store reopened in time, but the decision was made to close the Kennewick store permanently.
Now at the end of 2021, Chaplaincy is looking ahead and excited for the future. They are focusing on the Hospice program, adult grief care program and Cork’s Place. Despite the challenges of the last couple years, Chaplaincy has remained grateful for the resilience of their staff, their patients and families, and their community.
For the last 50 years, Chaplaincy has remained committed to serving the community by bringing comfort and peace to body, mind and spirit during life’s most challenging times. Their mission of serving others with exemplary spiritual, emotion and physical care and providing expert guidance during life’s final months continues today and, with community support, for the next 50 years.