Hospital chaplains fill role of surrogate family members during times of isolation, depression, death

Speaking to a chaplain at a time of hopelessness and uncertainty can be truly comforting, said Paloma Melendez, a 26-year-old artist and animator who is currently hospitalized at UC Irvine Medical Center for an autoimmune disorder. “I asked for a chaplain because I felt like I was going crazy,” she said. “The chaplain was so attentive and so kind. It’s nice to get that element of care during these scary times.”