A medical diagnosis can change everything, and the moments after challenging news can be the most difficult ones a person will ever face. But often hospitals do not have dedicated spaces for patients and families to process news or simply find a quiet moment, requiring them to congregate in busy waiting rooms and canteens. At Herlev Hospital, located just outside of Copenhagen, patients and their families have a new, dedicated space for these moments.
Inaugurated today, the Center for Contemplation and Faith has spaces for contemplation and prayer, including ones for those of the Christian and Muslim faiths.
“Regardless if you have faith or not, most people occasionally feel a need to talk to someone about the larger questions in life, and to be able to seek peace and calmness,” Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, Head of the Regional Council in Copenhagen.
“With this new center for contemplation and faith at Herlev Hospital, we take a great step towards a more human-oriented health care system that does not just watch a patient as someone in need of medication and surgery, but as a person, a human being, with emotional and perhaps spiritual needs.”
Hospital priest Matilde Nordahl Svendsen is hopeful about the opportunities the new center affords:
“Our experience throughout many years show that when our patients and their relatives are facing grand milestones in life - eg. when they are dealing with a serious illness, are saying goodbye to loved ones or are carrying a newborn as new parents, many are looking towards the spiritual dimension of life,” she says.
“At a hospital, we care for the physical treatment of our patients. But at the new center for contemplation and faith, we are also able to offer a beautiful and aesthetical setting for reflection, deep breaths and the possibility to withdraw from the hectic everyday life at the hospital.”