Spiritual care as a dimension of holistic care: a relational interpretation


This article reports on a phenomenological study undertaken to explore the meaning of spiritual care as described by a group of palliative care professionals. The research process was informed by van Manen's (1990) hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Eight palliative care professionals (nurses, complementary therapists and pastoral carers) were recruited from a community palliative care agency in Melbourne, Victoria, which provided home-based palliative care. All participants were female and came from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Data were collected by in-depth conversational interviews and were analyzed thematically. Two themes emerged: 'a living nexus between spiritual care, spirituality and holism' and 'a world of relationships'. The findings of the study point to the need for healthcare professionals to incorporate spiritual care guidelines into practice in order for palliative care to be truly representative of holistic health care



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