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Communication in Palliative Care Chaplaincy 

Communication in Palliative Care Chaplaincy
Communication in Palliative Care Chaplaincy

George F. Handzo

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date: 27 January 2020

Professional chaplaincy in the palliative care setting is focused on communication. The core competency of chaplaincy practice is engaged listening, while information giving is minimized. The major task of the chaplain is to help the patient and/or family identify their spiritual/religious/existential beliefs and values in order to engage them in coping with their illness, specifically in informing their treatment decisions. As the spiritual care specialist on the palliative care team, the chaplain can then act as the translator of these beliefs and values for the rest of the team, who are considered spiritual care generalists. The lack of commonly understood definitions of such key terms as spirituality and religion and confusion on the chaplain’s scope of practice are barriers. Besides a translator and subject-matter expert in the spiritual domain of care, the chaplain is also a spiritual care provider for individuals on the team and for the team as a whole.

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