RESEARCH

There has been increasing recognition in the hospice chaplaincy field over the last few decades that the practice of spiritual care at the end of life should be grounded in research and that hospice chaplains should use evidence-based approaches to their work. Hospice Chaplaincy is committed to that cause of research.

Here are our current areas of research;

HANDLING CHALLENGES INHERENT IN THE HOSPICE CHAPLAIN ROLE

With an increasing number of terminal patients in the United States dying in the context of hospice, the role that hospice chaplains play in providing spiritual care for patients and their families is important to examine. The hospice chaplain role requires careful navigation of the development of relationships that may end abruptly, the expectations of hospice organizations, and the needs of both patients and families.

WHERE IS GOD WHEN I AM DYING? INVESTIGATION OF HOSPICE PATIENTS’ FAITH REFLECTIONS AT THE END OF LIFE

Despite increased focus on the role of spiritual care in hospice care, there is limited knowledge about spirituality/religiosity among dying patients. This study aims through semi-structured interviews with hospice patients and participant observation to elucidate how hospice patients reflect and act upon their faith.

BRINGING SPIRITUALLY ORIENTED PSYCHOTHERAPIES INTO THE HEALTHCARE MAINSTREAM

For most of the 20th century, mainstream healthcare professionals ignored the role of spirituality in therapeutic healing. Recently this has changed as scholars and practitioners have described many spiritual treatment approaches, grounded in the healing practices of both Western and Eastern spiritual traditions (e.g., prayer, meditation, gratitude, love, forgiveness, altruistic service). Although some research supports these approaches there are weaknesses with the database. Without a more satisfactory research base, spiritual approaches will remain at the fringes of the mental health and medical fields, which will deprive many people of access to sensitive and effective services.

HOW SPIRITUAL CARE IS LINKED TO BETTER HEALTH UTCOMES

Research is an essential mark of any clinical profession, and the quality of research denotes the discipline’s development. Research on chaplaincy services spans nearly a half century, and it is growing and improving. Hospice chaplaincy is strengthening the chaplaincy profession by providing evidence that spiritual issues need to be addressed or health outcomes falter in end of life care.

FAMILY PERSPECTIVES ON HOSPICE CARE EXPERIENCES

To determine whether hospice use by patients is associated with their families’ perceptions of patients’ symptoms, goal attainment, and quality of end-of-life (EOL) care.

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