“Hospitality of the Heart – Hospitality for the Human Spirit”
How Healthcare Chaplains can Discover, Create and Offer Spaces for Spiritual Care in the Hospital Setting
Keywords:action research, healthcare environment, hospitality, reflective practice, space, spiritual care, therapeutic relationships
This article is based on action research conducted with the Multi-faith Chaplaincy team at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, south-west London. The research began by exploring the question “In what kind of spaces does spiritual care take place and how do chaplains discover, offer, or create such spaces?” The method was Ballard and Pritchard’s pastoral cycle – experience, exploration, reflection and action – and a focus group model. Discussion centred on how chaplains can enable spiritual care to happen in prescribed places, in spaces of opportunity, and how they can discover, create and offer such spaces. The theme of hospitality was identified as an essential aspect of the chaplain’s role, which is both to give and to receive. Further reflection has highlighted actions which have been taken forward to change, enhance and renew the provision of spiritual care provided by the Multi-faith Chaplaincy Team, particularly on the Trust’s Neo-Natal Unit. It has also informed further opportunities for multi-disciplinary working to enhance spiritual care. We recommend action research both for chaplaincy and multi-disciplinary teams, as well as the use of the pastoral or reflective cycle which offers a dynamic combination of experience, exploration reflection – including theological themes – and action.
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