Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

The evidence of the positive impact of chaplaincy and spiritual care: Summary of key findings on the efficacy of professional chaplaincy

Professional chaplains are effective at meeting spiritual needs, which are important to overall patient and family satisfaction. Chaplains are often involved with patients at the end of life. Many patients and health care staff find chaplaincy services helpful in reducing patients’ anxiety and helping patients to be more open to hospice care. When spiritual needs of advanced cancer patients are met, they are more likely to die in hospice instead of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and to have better quality of life at end of life and at a lower cost than in ICU. While research studies have focused on advanced cancer patients, the findings suggest broader application to other patients with longer term chronic diseases. Practice guidelines especially in palliative care increasingly call for a board certified chaplain as a member of the health care team.