The Inter-professional Dimensions of Spiritual Care for Chronically Ill Patients: A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Original Article


Background: Spiritual care is an integral part of holistic care. Its delivery should be based on patients’ spiritual needs. Objectives: This study aimed to explore the interprofessional dimensions of spiritual care for chronically ill patients. Methods: This exploratory qualitative study was done in Isfahan, Iran, on a purposive sample of 25 participants including patients, family caregivers, nurses, physicians, psychologists, social workers, and religious counselors. Data were collected through semi‑structured interviews and analyzed through conventional content analysis. Results: The interprofessional dimensions of spiritual care for chronically ill patients fell into four main themes. The first theme was religious care with the three subthemes of assistance in doing religious rituals, assistance in referring to religious values, and assistance in doing religious activities. The second theme, that is, pastoral care, consisted of three subthemes, namely, assistance in finding the meaning of life/death/illness, assistance in achieving spiritual transcendence, and encouragement to communicate with self and to do spiritual exercises. The third theme was psychological care, the four subthemes of which included assistance in acquiring peace of mind, assistance in accepting and coping with illness, assistance in creating a source of hope, and empathizing with patients. Finally, the fourth theme was supportive care and included the four subthemes of support and assistance to meet basic needs, continuity of care after hospital discharge, providing patient and family education, and respecting patients. Conclusion: Spiritual care has different dimensions. Its delivery necessitates adequate knowledge and expertise, close interprofessional collaboration, effective teamwork, and efficient patient referral system.