To help older adults age in healthy, affordable, and ethical ways.
About the Site:
Founded in 1954 by the United Methodist Church, Wesley Woods provides a continuum of care for the geriatric community. It is the only free-standing geriatric hospital in the country and is a teaching school for Emory Medical School in Geriatrics.
The Wesley Woods campus offers several living and treatment centers with distinct ministry opportunities. These areas include a 100-bed geriatric hospital and a psychology and neuropsychology unit. There is also a 200-resident independent living facility, and two 200-bed nursing homes located on the campus. The hospital sees 15,000–20,000 patients a year. The average age of a patient in the geriatric hospital is 86, and there are a high percentage of patients with Alzheimer's and dementia being cared for throughout the Wesley Woods community.
It is important to note all students who select this clinical setting should bring the results of their tuberculosis test to the August site orientation. Students will not be allowed to begin site work until this paperwork is turned in to the site supervisor. A flu shot will also be required during the year. Students will receive information from their site supervisor early in the fall semester concerning dates shots will be available.
Business hours are Monday through Friday 8:30–5:00. Earlier hours may be available students should discuss this with their site supervisor if they are interested. Parking can be tight at Wesley Woods and students are encouraged to take the A Shuttle from Emory to Wesley Woods.
A Student's Perspective:
One student says, "The Wesley Woods campus offers several living and treatment centers with distinct ministry opportunities. The chaplains most commonly visit elders in their long-term residential units. Each chaplain is assigned a floor of a residential building and makes weekly rounds. This usually involves 'cold visits' to individual rooms, but chaplains also lead programs such as Bible studies or prayer services. These residential units vary from highly independent living to assisted living, so each chaplain’s ministry opportunities are unique.
"In addition to the residential buildings, many chaplains can be placed in one of the hospital’s units, which include Psychiatry, and Neuropsychiatry among others. My work in the Neuropsychiatry unit included collaboration with a music therapist. We led a thirty-minute devotional service by singing old church hymns and then discussing the song’s lyrics. For example, we might sing 'Amazing Grace' and then ask, 'What is grace? And what does grace look like in a hospital?'
"The greatest gift during this process was our weekly reflection group. My colleagues and I wrestled with a variety of issues related to aging, pastoral care, and vocational discernment. Our group was a safe place where persons shared their experiences honestly and received valuable feedback. This group and ministry setting has proved invaluable in forming my pastoral identity."
Another student says, “I feel that I was able to harness the pastoral skills presented in class and integrate them into applied practice on site.”