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What is spiritual care? Professional perspectives on the concept of spiritual care identified through group concept mapping

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  • Niels Christian Hvidt, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Kristina Tomra Nielsen, University College of Northern Denmark, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg University Hospital
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  • Alex K. Kørup, University of Southern Denmark, Region of Southern Denmark
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  • Christina Prinds, University of Southern Denmark, University College South Denmark
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  • Dorte Gilså Hansen, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Dorte Toudal Viftrup, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Elisabeth Assing Hvidt, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Elisabeth Rokkjær Hammer, SDU
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  • Erik Falkø, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Flemming Locher, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Hanne Bess Boelsbjerg
  • Johan Albert Wallin, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Karsten Flemming Thomsen, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Katja Schrøder, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Lene Moestrup, University College Lillebælt
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  • Ricko Damberg Nissen, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Sif Stewart-Ferrer, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Tobias Kvist Stripp, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Vibeke Østergaard Steenfeldt, University College Absalon, Denmark
  • Jens Søndergaard, University of Southern Denmark
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  • Eva Ejlersen Wæhrens, University of Southern Denmark, Frederiksberg Hospital Parker Institute

Objectives The overall study aim was to synthesise understandings and experiences regarding the concept of spiritual care (SC). More specifically, to identify, organise and prioritise experiences with the way SC is conceived and practised by professionals in research and the clinic. Design Group concept mapping (GCM). Setting The study was conducted within a university setting in Denmark. Participants Researchers, students and clinicians working with SC on a daily basis in the clinic and/or through research participated in brainstorming (n=15), sorting (n=15), rating and validation (n=13). Results Applying GCM, ideas were identified, organised and prioritised online. A total of 192 unique ideas of SC were identified and organised into six clusters. The results were discussed and interpreted at a validation meeting. Based on input from the validation meeting a conceptual model was developed. The model highlights three overall themes: (1) 'SC as an integral but overlooked aspect of healthcare' containing the two clusters SC as a part of healthcare and perceived significance; (2) 'delivering SC' containing the three clusters quality in attitude and action, relationship and help and support, and finally (3) 'the role of spirituality' containing a single cluster. Conclusion Because spirituality is predominantly seen as a fundamental aspect of each individual human being, particularly important during suffering, SC should be an integral aspect of healthcare, although it is challenging to handle. SC involves paying attention to patients' values and beliefs, requires adequate skills and is realised in a relationship between healthcare professional and patient founded on trust and confidence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere042142
JournalBMJ Open
Volume10
Issue12
Number of pages10
ISSN2044-6055
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

    Research areas

  • medical ethics, palliative care, public health, rehabilitation medicine

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