Patient and healthcare perspectives on the importance and efficacy of addressing spiritual issues within an interdisciplinary bone marrow transplant clinic: a qualitative study
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to use a qualitative approach to better understand the importance and efficacy of addressingspiritual issues within an interdisciplinary bone marrow transplant clinic from the perspectives of patients and healthcare providers. SETTING: Participants were recruited from the bone marrow transplant clinic of a large urban outpatient cancer care centre in western Canada. PARTICIPANTS: Focus groups were conducted with patients (n=7) and healthcare providers (n=9) to explore the importance of addressingspiritual issues across the treatment trajectory and to identify factors associated with effectively addressing these needs. RESULTS: Data were analysed using the qualitative approach of latent content analysis. Addressing spiritual issues was understood by patients and healthcare providers, as a core, yet under addressed, component of comprehensive care. Both sets of participants felt that addressing basic spiritual issues was the responsibility of all members of the interdisciplinary team, while recognising the need for specialised and embedded support from a spiritual care professional. While healthcare providers felt that the impact of the illness and treatment had a negative effect on patients’ spiritual well-being, patients felt the opposite. Skills, challenges, key time points and clinical indicators associated with addressing spiritual issues were identified. CONCLUSIONS: Despite a number of conceptual and clinical challenges associated with addressing spiritual issues patients and their healthcare providers emphasised the importance of an integrated approach whereby basic spiritual issues are addressed by members of the interdisciplinary team and by an embedded spiritual care professional, who in addition also provides specialised support. The identification of clinical issues associated with addressing spiritual needs provides healthcare providers with clinical guidance on how to better integrate this aspect of care into their clinical practice, while also identifying acute incidences when a more targeted and specialised approach may be of benefit.