Hospice Volunteers’ Spiritual Care Training

A Discussion of Core Competencies and Course Aims


  • Margit Gratz University of Münster
  • Traugott Roser University of Münster
  • Piret Paal Hospizdienst Dasein




hospice, volunteer, spirituality, spiritual care, training, curriculum, competencies


AIM: A Germany-wide survey confirmed that there is a need for a spiritual care curriculum to o er assistance in arranging the spiritual care training for hospice volunteers. This article defines the aims of the course and its central themes in teaching spirituality to hospice volunteers. METHODS: An expert group interview was designed to define the core competencies and course aims. The thematic content analysis was applied to extract themes from the transcript and paraphrased into codes, which were grouped into thematically coherent categories. RESULTS: Spiritual care training for volunteers should cover the following themes and practical assignments: (1) definition of central concepts of spirituality and spiritual care; (2) meaning of belief systems; (3) spiritual needs and resources; (4) personal manner and ability to relate meaningfully; (5) referral to appropriate pastoral care/chaplains/spiritual advisors; (6) rituals and creativity in spiritual care; (7) voicing and acknowledging own spirituality; (8) facing and initiating spiritual encounters. Course aims were identified concerning knowledge, skills, and attitude. CONCLUSION: The findings frame the development of a spiritual care curriculum for hospice volunteers.

Author Biographies

Margit Gratz, University of Münster

Margit Gratz has experience as a hospice volunteer, coordinator and palliative care trainer. She works in the Department of Practical Theology at the University of Münster.

Traugott Roser, University of Münster

Traugott Roser has worked as a chaplain on a palliative care unit and as a palliative care trainer, and presently holds a professorship in practical theology at the University of Münster.

Piret Paal, Hospizdienst Dasein

Piret Paal is a medical anthropologist and trainer, involved in projects regarding patient-centred palliative care.


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How to Cite

Gratz, M., Roser, T., & Paal, P. (2017). Hospice Volunteers’ Spiritual Care Training: A Discussion of Core Competencies and Course Aims. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 5(1), 55-72. https://doi.org/10.1558/hscc.31352