Articles about Spiritual Care and Medicine


Professional Chaplaincy:  Its Role and Importance in Healthcare” by Larry VandeCreek and Laurel Burton.  This paper describes the role and significance of spiritual care and is the first joint statement on this subject prepared by the five larges healthcare chaplaincy organizations in North America.

Let’s add science to health-care chaplaincy without losing its art,” by Linda Emanuel, The Washington Post,  December 6, 2012.

You may not know that there is such a thing as a professional health-care chaplain. I know, because as a physician, I’ve worked with many, and have seen how the chaplain’s art helps patients, loved ones, and stressed-out staff find meaning and comfort.(more)

“Having the Conversation – What you need to know about End of Life discussions with persons you love.  By George Handzo, The Washington Post, December 6, 2012.

As a longtime professional chaplain, mostly serving people with cancer and their loves ones, I have been invited into many family conversations about making health-care decisions for a loved one at the end-of-life. Unfortunately, all too often, these conversations were held absent the person who was dying because that person was no longer able to participate. And too often, these conversations focused on trying to come to consensus in the family about “what mom would want.” And since no one had ever asked mom directly, the family was left to guess as best it could.

Spiritual care is important, too” – The Bulletin, by Betsy Q. Cliff, December 16, 2011

“Doctor, will you pray with me?”  Dr. Michel Boileau, a longtime Central Oregon urologist, said patients have asked him that question or something like it many times. Often, it is before surgery. (more)

Bringing Spirituality to Medicine” – Wall Street Journal Blog, by Laura Landro, December 6, 2011.

“Hospital chaplains are bringing more scientific research to the practice of spiritual care, while physicians are learning to bring spirituality to the practice of medicine.” (more)

The Meaning and Practice of Spiritual Care” – An article by the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Spirituality demonstrates that persons are not merely physical bodies that require mechanical care.  Persons find that their spirituality helps them maintain health and cope with illnesses, traumas, losses, and life transitions by integrating body, mind, and spirit. (more)

The Role of Spirituality in Healthcare – By Christina Puchalski, MD

The technological advances of the past century tended to change the focus of medicine from a caring, service oriented model to a technological, cure-oriented model. Technology has led to phenomenal advances in medicine and has given us the ability to prolong life. However, in the past few decades physicians have attempted to balance their care by reclaiming medicine’s more spiritual roots, recognizing that until modern times spirituality was often linked with health care. (more)

Healthcare Chaplaincy Newsletter (published twice monthly – (subscribe for free here)

The nonprofit, multifaith HealthCare Chaplaincy is a national leader in research, education and practice that integrates spirituality with medical care. It has the responsibility to help hospital patients and families in difficult situations find meaning and comfort regardless of religion or beliefs. For nearly 50 years it has collaborated with major medical centers and other professional organizations. It is a thought leader for quality, accessible and affordable palliative care. The New York Times says, “Palliative care (is) one of the fastest-growing fields in medicine.” Palliative care helps patients with a serious, life-changing illness and their families make informed decisions about their treatment options that are consistent with their values.