Chaplains working in a hospice palliative care team recount the spiritual challenges at the end-of-life


  • Caroline Mcafee Northern Ireland Hospice
  • Barbara Cochrane Northern Ireland Hospice
  • Mary Waldron University of Ulster
  • Felicity Hasson University of Ulster
  • George Kernohan University of Ulster



Chaplaincy, hospice, spiritual care, standards, support, team working


As part of an on-going review of service provision for Hospice adult patients, six chaplains were interviewed to elicit their views and experiences of meeting spiritual needs within a multidisciplinary palliative care team. Interviews were taped: transcribed and common themes were identified. The chaplains highlighted many positive aspects of their work, recognising their role as one of service to the patients. They emphasised the importance of teamwork, both within the chaplaincy service and throughout the wider palliative care team. Negative aspects of working in palliative care were also identified, such as compassion fatigue. Chaplains need special coping skills and ongoing support in their work. They must recognise and obtain resources for patients from other world faith communities.

Author Biographies

Caroline Mcafee, Northern Ireland Hospice

Caroline McAfee is Senior Chaplain, Northern Ireland Hospice

Barbara Cochrane, Northern Ireland Hospice

Barbara Cochrane is Director of Medical and Care Services, Northern Ireland Hospice

Mary Waldron, University of Ulster

Mary Waldron is Research Assistant, Institute of Nursing Research, University of Ulster

Felicity Hasson, University of Ulster

Felicity Hasson is Research Fellow, Institute of Nursing Research, University of Ulster,

George Kernohan, University of Ulster

George Kernohan is Professor of Health Research, School of Nursing and Institute of Nursing Research, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey


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How to Cite

Mcafee, C., Cochrane, B., Waldron, M., Hasson, F., & Kernohan, G. (2013). Chaplains working in a hospice palliative care team recount the spiritual challenges at the end-of-life. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 18–24.