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New Studies Presented at HealthCare Chaplaincy Network Annual Conference Focus on Role and Effectiveness of Spiritual Care Interventions

Studies Document and Examine Effects on Patients with Advanced Cancer, Decision-Making, Pediatric Crisis and Caregivers

NEW YORK, April 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four new studies mark important advances in understanding the role of spiritual care in treating people facing serious illness.  They will be presented today and tomorrow at the inaugural conference of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN), Caring for the Human Spirit: Driving the Research Agenda in Spiritual Care in Health Care, taking place March 31April 3, 2014, at the New York Academy of Medicine.

Research Highlights:

-- The first study is one of very few studies to provide an in-depth picture of spiritual care work with patients. Even three sessions with a professional chaplain seemed to have important, positive effects for patients. The research raises the possibility that spiritual care should be studied as a potentially powerful intervention for patients with various serious illnesses, not just cancer. Spiritual Assessment and Intervention Model (AIM) in Outpatient Palliative Care for Patients with Advanced Cancer, University of California, San Francisco, Project Director, Laura Dunn, MD, Project Chaplain, Allison Kestenbaum, BCC

-- A diary study of 1140 chaplain-patient encounters demonstrated the positive value of the communication and revealed that more than half of chaplain visits focused on issues other than the spiritual. The study showed that conversations with patients were more likely to be about "practical matters" (family care, life review, medical care, work) than about "ultimate concerns" (expressed emotions, existential matters, spiritual/religious matters, physical symptoms). Impact of Hospital-Based Chaplain Support on Decision-Making During Serious Illness in a Diverse Urban Palliative Care Population, Emory University (Atlanta), Project Director, Tammie Quest, MD, Project Chaplain, George Grant, ACPE

-- Researchers analyzed seven in-depth case studies that reveal how medical professionals utilize chaplains in the care of seriously ill children. They learned that most health professionals have little or no understanding of what chaplains do and that this has implications for patient and family care. Key lessons showed that: tangible objects are very important (e.g., prayer shawls and teddy bears); physical interaction builds trust (e.g., eye contact). Understanding Pediatric Chaplaincy in Crisis Situations, Children's Mercy Hospital (Kansas City), Project Director, John Lantos, MD, Project Chaplain, Dane Sommer, BCC

-- Both religious and non-religious participants found conversations with the chaplain meaningful and without an agenda. This study also demonstrates that it is feasible and acceptable for chaplains to work from a manual (the very first). Caregiver Outlook: An Evidence-Based Intervention for the Chaplain Toolkit, Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC), Project Director, Karen Steinhauser. PhD, Project Chaplain, Annette Olsen, BCC

Funding for this conference and for the research projects to be presented were made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

About HealthCare Chaplaincy Network
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) is a national health care organization dedicated to helping people faced with the distress of illness and suffering find comfort and meaning. www.healthcarechaplaincy.org   www.chaplainsonhand.org

About the John Templeton Foundation
The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. www.templeton.org

Contact: Jim Siegel, 212-644-1111 x141 or [email protected] 

SOURCE HealthCare Chaplaincy Network

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