2019 SCHA Awards
Outstanding Senior Care Professional

View Other Nominees in this Category

Brett Peterson Brett Peterson

Brett Peterson

Position: Chaplin

Organization: Universal Health Net


List your nominee's experience in Senior Care.
Brett Peterson, Chaplin for Universal Health Net also services seniors and the community in numerous capacities. From the moment you meet Brett, you can’t help but love his warm, sincere and emotionally supportive nature. Brett has a BA in Religion – Pastoral Care & Counseling, BA in Sociology, Master of Social Work, Doctor of Philosophy and a Master of Divinity. Since 1988 he has served the senior community in many ways and his past accolades include appearing as a Biblical Scholar on the History Channel. Currently Brett, is also a Pastor for the OC Fire Authority; Senior Pastor for Living Water Community Church; President, Professor and Counselor for Coastland University; and Crisis Intervention Pastor Counselor and Teacher for Coastland Ministries.
As the Chaplin for Universal Health Net (hospice provider) Brett exudes an energy of peace, openness, love, gratitude and contentment. He has also studied the major religions so is able to relate to and communicate with patients from many different religious and non-religious backgrounds. Brett’s role requires him to provide emotional and spiritual support and counselling to many faiths or those with no spiritual alignment; comfort; companionship; and copying strategies to patients and their love ones. Brett achieves this not only with his unique and loveable nature, his extensive experience and education, but also skill sets in playing the Ukulele and singing to patients in several languages. Some patients that have chosen to be non-verbal to their family, respond and gain a renewed energy toward Brett. Many other patients who are initially disinterested in Chaplin services, welcome regular visits from Brett once they meet him.

Describe how your Nominee has exceeded his or her Job Description, becoming a hero to you or others. Provide an example or as much detail as possible of the things that they do that go above and beyond their job description.
One moving example where Brett’s commitment and willingness to go above and beyond to change a senior patient’s life for the better was witnessed recently with an ALS patient. This senior hospice patient was once a very active and fit man, riding his motorcycle and working on Hollywood movie sets until he was stricken suddenly with ALS. The patient, wife and Autistic son were struggling each in their own ways - emotionally, physically, spiritually, with the diagnosis of a non-treatable disease and its debilitating symptoms; and stages of grief. Initially they had refused Chaplin services as they did not have or want any spiritual ties. Through Brett’s sense of humanity, willingness to help, love, dedication and regular visits, he was able to form a connection with each family member and help them through their individual journeys to cope, accept and heal. This involved counselling, education, grief strategies, music and singing therapy; as well as a non-judgmental ear and warm heart. Eventually the patient communicated he had found peace with his illness and no-longer feared dying. He told Brett that he now believes in God and asked him to conduct the Memorial Service when he passes. Brett was honored to do this for the patient and the family. It was truly a beautiful Memorial Service that was marked with happiness and a poster of a man on a motorcycle flying through the sky with the heading: “I’m now free”.
Brett truly is a remarkable human being. Universal Health Net and patients are blessed to have him as a Chaplin.