Healthcare Chaplains Responding to Change
Embracing Outcomes or Reaffirming Relationships?
Keywords:Presence, Outcome Oriented Chaplaincy (OOC), relationship, nursing, managerialism, research
The economic constraints reshaping Western healthcare are profoundly changing the reality in which healthcare chaplaincy is practiced. The recent ‘call to action’ issued by an international group of leading chaplains acknowledges the complexity of the emerging context and, on the grounds that current healthcare cost are unsustainable and the requirement to put patient needs at the centre of healthcare, they urge chaplains to adopt the outcomes approach that is the ‘new currency’ of healthcare in industrialized countries, and develop outcomes that are ‘replicable and predictable’. To the extent that the outcomes approach is aimed at improving spiritual care, the call to action is to be welcomed. However, this paper argues that adapting to the new reality ‘replicable and predictable outcomes’ will likely impact chaplaincy values as much as professional practice. The paper argues that this will be at the cost of distorting the values and beliefs that chaplains have held to be important to spiritual care.
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