A model of collaborative spiritual and psychiatric care of oncology patients
BACKGROUND: Many oncology patients see both chaplains and consultation-liaison (C-L) psychiatrists during medical hospitalizations. Studies show that spirituality and mental health influence one another, and that patients often prefer that physicians understand their spirituality. Though models of inpatient chaplaincy-psychiatry collaboration likely exist, none are apparent in the literature. In this study, we present one model of chaplaincy-psychiatry collaboration, hypothesizing that both specialties would find the intervention helpful. METHODS: From April through December 2015, the C-L psychiatry service at Brigham & Women’s Hospital piloted 13 sessions of interdisciplinary rounds, where chaplains and C-L psychiatrists discussed common oncology patients. Participants completed questionnaires including quantitative and qualitative prompts before the intervention, after each session, and at the study’s conclusion. RESULTS: Eighteen individuals completed baseline questionnaires. Between baseline and final surveys, the proportion of participants describing themselves as “very satisfied” with the 2 services’ integration rose from 0-36%. The proportion of participants feeling “not comfortable” addressing issues in the other discipline declined from 17-0%. The most frequently chosen options on how discussions had been helpful were that they had enhanced understanding of both patient needs (83.3%) and the other discipline (78.6%). Qualitative data yielded similar themes. At conclusion, all respondents expressed preference that interdisciplinary rounds continue. CONCLUSION: This study describes a model of enhancing collaboration between chaplains and C-L psychiatrists, an intervention not previously studied to our knowledge. A pilot intervention of the model was perceived by both specialties to enhance both patient care and understanding of the other discipline.
Note: this article featured in the ACPE Research Network December 2017 Article of the Month.