Pastoral care

Heal the sick … Freely ye have received, freely give …

In 1881, Norton Healthcare’s founders engraved these words on the cornerstone of the first Norton Hospital. Today, Norton Healthcare continues this important work of healing and self-giving service to those in need.

Norton Healthcare came into being because churches believed that healing the sick and injured and caring for the dying was an essential part of their Christian calling. Norton Healthcare’s mission statement reflects this commitment: “Norton Healthcare’s purpose is to provide quality health care to all those we serve, in a manner that responds to the needs of our communities and honors our faith heritage.”

The mission of the Norton Healthcare Pastoral Care Department is to promote spiritual health and deliver timely, competent spiritual care to patients, their families and staff. We do this through the work of our staff chaplains, our resident and intern chaplains and our Clinical Pastoral Education program.

While you or a family member or friend are a patient in one of our hospitals, Norton Healthcare chaplains are available to you and your loved ones 24 hours a day to provide the following assistance:

  • Emotional and spiritual support, regardless of your faith or beliefs
  • Prayer, baptisms, blessings, anointing and help with contacting your local clergy or someone from your faith tradition-as you request
  • A caring listener
  • A comforting and encouraging presence
  • Assisting patients and families with end-of-life decisions, including advance directives
  • Providing written and printed religious and spiritual resources
  • Help for patients and families in dealing with loss

If you would like to talk with a chaplain, ask a staff member to contact one of our chaplains or call an operator at one of the numbers listed below:

Norton Audubon Hospital: (502) 636-7111
Norton Brownsboro Hospital: (502) 446-8000
Norton Hospital, Norton Healthcare Pavilion and Norton Children’s Hospital: (502) 629-8000
Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital: (502) 893-1000

Each Norton Healthcare hospital has a chapel for prayer and quiet reflection. You are invited to use the prayer cards to leave your prayer requests in the chapel.

GriefCare Information Center

Grief is our natural response to life’s losses. It is a process of growth, healing and adjustment to the new reality after the loss.

The GriefCare Information Center is an initiative of the Pastoral Care Department, made possible by a grant from the Norton Healthcare Community Trust Fund. The center provides grieving people and those who support them with information on help that is available.

Resources are available to address the grief caused by the death of a child or other loved one, as well as other forms of loss and grief — such as bankruptcy, chronic illness, divorce, disability or loss of employment. The center’s database contains more than 2,000 entries and is updated regularly. You can request information about therapeutic and educational resources, including:

  • Books and pamphlets
  • Audiovisual material
  • Support groups
  • Online resources

Contact information
The Rev. Rick Forest, D.Min., FT
Coordinator, GriefCare Information Center
Phone: (502) 629-5926 or (800) 323-9324

Pregnancy and infant loss resources

The death of a baby is a deeply wounding and life-changing event for parents and families, regardless of how long the baby lived. The hopes, dreams and joys you held for your child ended all too soon. Grieving is normal and part of a long healing process.

Many parents find themselves wondering how they can continue day to day with the reality of such a profound tragedy. Their lives are forever changed, and they no longer view the world the same way.

When grieving, it is normal for you to experience a variety of feelings, including:

  • Shock
  • Emptiness
  • Anger
  • Despair
  • Loneliness
  • Guilt
  • Depression

Even after significant time has passed during which you have worked hard at healing your grief, a new wave of grief can be triggered by everyday experiences, such as:

  • Seeing a pregnant woman
  • Hearing the sound of a baby
  • Watching children play

Your feelings may be further intensified by friends and family who become impatient with you when you don’t get “back to normal” as soon as they think you should. There is no set time period for grief. Grief will change over time, but it is normal to miss your child and think about her or him for the rest of your life. Each person in your family will grieve differently and for different lengths of time. These differences do not mean you love one another or your child any more or less.

Resources for help and healing

To help you find the care you need for coping, healing and discovering renewed meaning in life, we have gathered a list of grief care resources available online and in the Louisville Metro community. This information is provided as a resource only and does not constitute Norton Healthcare’s endorsement of any group. Individuals are encouraged to seek groups that best help them cope with the particular challenges they face.

Walk to Remember

You are invited to the annual Walk to Remember honoring children lost through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. The walk and memorial service are held at Carrie Gaulbert Cox Park, 3730 River Road, usually in October. The walk and memorial service are open to all family members, friends and health care professionals. Together, support and awareness is raised for families whose lives have been touched by the death of a baby, regardless of hospital affiliation or how long ago the loss was experienced. Registration and participation are free. To register or for more information about this event, call (502) 629-1234.

Resources for help and healing

The Compassionate Friends
Free grief support groups, resources and events designed to help families cope with the death of a child. All support groups are led by persons who have experienced such a loss. Several meeting locations are available in Kentucky and Indiana.

Parents Left Behind
Started by parents who understand the unique grief associated with losing a child, this organization offers group support meetings the second Thursday of every month in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

The Dougy Center
Specializing in the grief of children, teens, young adults and their families, the Dougy Center offers several support groups in Kentucky and Indiana. A number of online resources are available through its website.

Hosparus Health Grief Counseling Center
A local hospice service with an extensive counseling program for anyone who has experienced a loss, including teens and children. They also offer free local support groups.

Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope
Parents who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss post their photos and share their feelings of loss and grief.

Grieving Dads Project
Designed to be a supportive resource of personal stories and blog posts from grieving fathers for grieving fathers, this website speaks to the unique ways in which men cope with grief.

Bereaved Parents of the USA
A national nonprofit self-help group offering support, understanding, compassion and hope, especially to newly bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings struggling to rebuild their lives after the death of a child.

MISS Foundation
Provides families with free grief packets, one-on-one mentor support, 24/7 moderated forums, support groups, resources for various types of child loss, newsletters and information about events. This volunteer-based foundation provides CARE (counseling, advocacy, research and education) for families grieving the death of a child.

Living With Loss Magazine and Bereavement Publications
Offers a magazine, cards, booklets, audio recordings and videos dedicated to assisting people through the challenges associated with illness, death and other types of loss.

Compassion Books
Dedicated to offering a wide variety of exceptional and sometimes hard-to-find books, videos and blogs to help adults and children deal with various types of grief and loss.


To Talk With a Chaplain

Ask any staff member to put you in touch or call one of these numbers.

Norton Audubon Hospital
(502) 636-7111
Norton Brownsboro Hospital
(502) 446-8000
Norton Hospital, Norton Healthcare Pavilion and Norton Children’s Hospital
(502) 629-8000
Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital
(502) 893-1000

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