DOVER (WJER) (March 22, 2023) – A former pastor from the Akron area has joined the team of caregivers at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital.
52-year-old Bill Oakley of Copley became the hospital’s resident chaplain on February 6th. He’s available by request to provide spiritual care and support to patients and their loved ones every weekday except for Wednesdays when he goes to Cleveland to train with the hospital’s system’s other chaplains.
“I also do rounds on patients here at the hospital. I just stop to check in, and when I’m doing that often a nurse or one of the other caregivers will stop me and say, ‘Would you mind visiting with this patient? They’re having kind of a difficult morning or difficult day.’ As a matter of fact, that happened this morning.”
Oakley’s duties include comforting those faced with a challenging diagnosis or even death. He says it’s a lot different than leading a congregation although he finds a tremendous value in helping people through some of life’s most difficult situations.
“Here at Cleveland Clinic Union, we want to care for them not only physically and mentally but we also want to include the spirit in that. We’re here to listen and encourage people on their spiritual journey.”
Oakley decided to leave his pulpit for the chaplainship after contracting an autoimmune disease that he says affected him physically, emotionally, and mentally. He completed an internship with Cleveland Clinic’s Spiritual Care Department prior to coming to Union and spent his clinical hours visiting with patients at Akron General.