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 service to those in need.

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 is 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, and anointing, as well as help with contacting your local clergy or someone from your faith tradition as requested
  • A caring listener
  • A comforting and encouraging presence
  • Assisting patients and families with end-of-life decisions, including advance directives
  • Providing religious and spiritual resources
  • Help for patients and families in dealing with loss

Pastoral Care Contacts

Patti Browning, administrative assistant: (502) 629-2103

The Rev. Kelley Woggon, M.Div., BCC, director: (502) 629-6514 

If you are a patient or family member in one of our hospitals and 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:

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. It 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., F.T.
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 them 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 Greater Louisville 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.

Spiritual Wellness Workbook for the Trans Community

At Norton Healthcare, we believe that care has no labels. Our pastoral care team is committed to meeting spiritual health needs in a manner that creates a sense of belonging for all. We’ve proudly partnered with members of the trans community to prepare a spiritual wellness workbook, designed to support the unique needs of this population. We invite you to download and print this collection of educational materials, resources and exercises as you embark on your spiritual wellness journey.

For additional support and information, email the Rev. Phillip Garrett, M.Div., C.T., chaplain services, Norton Healthcare, at

More Resources

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. It also offers free local support groups.

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
This is 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
The 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. A volunteer-based organization, it provides CARE (counseling, advocacy, research and education) for families grieving the death of a child.

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