Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

Using the Taxonomy: A Standard Vocabulary of Chaplain Activities

At present, the field of chaplaincy does not have a standardized vocabulary for the activities that chaplains conduct in different institutions and settings. This is a hindrance when making comparisons among various chaplain activities across institutions and drawing conclusions from the data reported. Recently a standardized vocabulary, the Advocate Taxonomy, was developed by a group of chaplains and there was consensus agreement that the taxonomy represented the gamut of chaplain activities. However, to date, no data with adults has been presented to support the conclusions reached by the taxonomy development team. This article is the first effort to examine which taxonomy items are most commonly used in the acute care setting. It further explores the differences in the use of the taxonomy items in different settings (ICU vs. Non-ICU), the type of chaplain visit (Initial vs. Follow-up) and the patient’s discharge status (Expired vs. discharged alive).