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Title:Hospice Chaplains' Communication With Patients and Their Family Members
Author(s):Gumminger, Kristin Lindholm
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Caughlin, John
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Religion, Clergy
Abstract:Hospice chaplains work with dying patients and their family members as part of the historically valued and often mandated provision of spiritual support in hospice programs. Because hospice chaplains work with families who are facing the extremely challenging prospect of losing a family member in six months or less, these chaplains often establish working relationships quickly, make basic assessments about what families need, and attempt to help patients and their families achieve as good a death as possible according to each family unit's unique character. The communication challenges that hospice chaplains regularly encounter---entering established family systems, discussing traditionally private or taboo subjects, and helping people prepare for an event the chaplains have not yet experienced themselves---make the understudied interactions of hospice chaplains well worth examining. Forty-five current and former hospice chaplains participated in this study. The majority of the participants took part in interviews about their communication practices; two participants kept records of their conversations with patients and their families over a two-week period. The results of these interviews and written records indicate that (a) general cultural views, organizational practices, situational factors, and role dialectics influence the types of conversations hospice chaplains have with patients and their families and (b) hospice chaplains choose from a variety of communication strategies in response to their analysis of the factors that affect a specific interaction. The communication choices of hospice chaplains can be understood in terms of a model that encompasses cultural views of death, spirituality, and religion; the practices of hospice organizations; relevant situational factors; and the tensions that emerge as hospice chaplains enact their role. This paper also illustrates ways that the proposed model could be used to conceptualize how other professionals in health care communicate with patients and their families.
Issue Date:2008
Description:357 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3337849
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2008

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