Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy Vol 12 (2) 2009

WHAT DO PEOPLE TALK TO CHAPLAINS ABOUT?

Anne Aldridge, Derek Fraser, Kevin Morrison
Issued Date: 6 Apr 2013

Abstract


An inpatient stay in an acute hospital setting often causes distress, confusion and in many cases the desire to explore existential issues. For health care chaplains there is no debate about the efficacy of the role they play in these existential explorations however there is an increasing need to provide evidence-based research to verify this. As a profession chaplaincy is well versed in anecdote but it needs to move beyond that to evidence of a more robust kind. This research project was an in-depth review of the dialogues held with thirty-four different adults in an acute hospital over a period of three months in 2007 to determine what people talk to chaplains about. The project involved 12 different chaplains having an encounter with a patient and then writing it up as a verbatim. At the same time a literature search was carried out to determine any other research projects of a similar nature. The texts of the encounters were analysed by two chaplains independently – they determined themes raised in the discussions and manually scored these according to the frequency of their occurrence. Results were then compared and areas of discrepancy discussed. Qualitative software was used to verify the findings. The results showed that con-versations appeared to fit into four main topics: spiritual themes; life stories; hospital experiences and emotional expression.

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DOI: 10.1558/hscc.v12i2.3

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