The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Online ISSN : 1349-3329
Print ISSN : 0040-8727
ISSN-L : 0040-8727
Regular Contribution
Impressions of Interfaith Chaplain’s Activities among Patients in a Palliative Care Unit: A Semi-Structured Interview-Based Qualitative Study
Yusuke HiratsukaMaho AoyamaTaiko KanetaKento MasukawaKeita TagamiMitsunori MiyashitaAkira Inoue
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2020 Volume 251 Issue 2 Pages 91-96


Providing spiritual care in light of a patient’s religious and/or spiritual background can help improve the quality of end-of-life care. Rinsho-shukyo-shi is a Japanese interfaith chaplain who provides religious and spiritual care to patients. In this study, we qualitatively explore the impressions of patients in a palliative care unit of the activities of an interfaith chaplain in a hospital in Japan. The authors used semi-structured interviews carried out by a male nurse experienced in qualitative and quantitative research in palliative care. The male nurse asked only a few predetermined questions in the interviews, which were conducted from January 19 to December 26, 2018. The interviewees were 15 patients diagnosed with advanced cancer (five men and 10 women; aged 53-81 years), and they were admitted to the palliative care unit of Tohoku University Hospital (the hospital has no religious affiliation). Patients who had spoken to the interfaith chaplain at the hospital at least twice were included in the study. The interviews were digitally audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed. Three main themes were identified through thematic analysis. Resistance varied across patients; no patient felt resistance to the intervention by, or to the presence of, the interfaith chaplain once he/she had spoken with him. Opinions about the interfaith chaplain also varied, with 10 patients claiming that his role was necessary for end-of-life care and beneficial for the chaplain himself. Finally, the patients’ religious beliefs varied widely. In conclusion, the interfaith chaplain is deemed helpful by the interviewed patients in relieving their anxieties.

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© 2020 Tohoku University Medical Press

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