Addressing spiritual needs in palliative care: proposal for a narrative and interfaith spiritual care intervention for chaplaincy

Iris R. Wierstra*, Anke I. Liefbroer, Lenneke Post, Thijs Tromp, Jacques Körver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Although many recognize the importance of addressing the spiritual domain in palliative care, empirically grounded interventions designed to alleviate spiritual needs for patients in palliative care are remarkably scarce. In this paper we argue that the development of such interventions for chaplains is important in order to improve spiritual care in a (post)secular and religiously plural context. We therefore propose an interfaith chaplain-led spiritual care intervention for home-based palliative care that addresses patients’ spiritual needs. The intervention is based on elements of spiritual care interventions that have been investigated among other populations. Three important characteristics of the proposed intervention are (1) life review; (2) materiality, ritual and embodiment; and (3) imagination. The aim of this intervention is to improve palliative patients’ spiritual wellbeing. It is anticipated that such a structured intervention could assist in improving spiritual care in palliative care.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health Care Chaplaincy
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Cite this