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New chapel room opens at CH-M

For nearly 10 years, Centegra Health System Chaplain Ron Hahn has pursued his idea of creating a special room in the hospital for deceased patients and their families to gather privately for last goodbyes. His vision became reality when a new chapel room opened at Centegra Hospital-McHenry this summer.Hahn’s idea intrigued Centegra administration but the challenge was where to build it.

The CH-McHenry emergency department expansion project provided the necessary window of opportunity.”Initially I was thinking we would just service the ED, but the more I talked to other managers, we decided we needed to service the whole hospital,” Hahn said.

The new chapel room is now located behind the Galvin Chapel on the second floor. An interior door now connects the two rooms. ”Until I saw the drawings, I wasn’t absolutely sure that this was where it was going to be,”  Hahn said. “Dry wall goes up quickly and you can lose the space, but it continued to be on the radar, so I worked with an interior designer, many managers from ICU, the ED, oncology, same day surgery and cath lab, so that we were all working together on meeting the needs, as well as doing what’s appropriate for the patient and his or her family.” Security and infection control were other important factors in making the vision a reality.

”Infection control threw me some curves but we did abide by the rules and regulations that are needed for something like this, same as it would be for a hospital room,”  Hahn said. “We have to be able to sanitize the floor and we have to be able to clean the furniture. The material has a special material so it can be wiped down with the strong antibiotic cleaners that we use.” A chaplain or security guard escorts the deceased to the chapel room. Then a flexible wall in the room is closed.”Then we escort the family into the chapel room and let the family settle in a little bit before asking if they would like to see their loved one,”  Hahn said. “We gradually will open the door so it’s not a blatant shock for them, and it’s a more natural look for them, rather than all the IV bags and tubes and machines. It’s just so much more pleasant.” Centegra chaplains are available 24 hours a day to offer emotional support, prayers or to welcome a priest, pastor, rabbi, or whatever is needed to meet a family’s needs totally.

Hahn would like to provide the same type of secluded room to families at Centegra Hospital-Woodstock and Centegra Hospital-Huntley if that proposal is approved by the state.

Centegra Health System is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the residents of greater McHenry County and to making services available in multiple and convenient locations, including hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock, Immediate and Physician Care Centers, Centegra Sage Cancer Center, Health Bridge Fitness Centers and more. As the region’s leading healthcare provider, Centegra Health System continues to bring the latest treatments and technology, along with the skills of nearly 4,000 medical professionals, to meet the needs of the growing McHenry County community.

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