Health Care Chaplaincy: A Scoping Review of the Evidence
There is a growing body of evidence investigating chaplaincy services. The purpose of this scoping review was to examine the empirical literature specific to the role of chaplaincy within health care published since 2009. Electronic searches of four databases were conducted in August 2015. After screening, 48 studies were retained and reviewed. Four themes emerged: experiences and perceptions of the health care chaplain (n = 15), chaplain practice (n = 9), emerging areas of health care chaplaincy (n = 16), and outcome studies (n = 8). Studies were diverse in topics covered, methods, national contexts, and clinical settings. The majority were descriptive in nature. Evidence continues to demonstrate a relationship between chaplains and increased patient satisfaction. Nascent areas of research include chaplain’s role with diverse populations, involvement in clinical ethics, and confidence with research and evidence-based practice. Few conclusions can be drawn from the limited evidence on the outcomes of chaplain interventions.