The Provision Of Spiritual And Pastoral Care Following Stillbirth In Ireland: A Mixed Methods Study

Title

The Provision Of Spiritual And Pastoral Care Following Stillbirth In Ireland: A Mixed Methods Study

Creator

Daniel Nuzum; Sarah Meaney; Keelin O'Donoghue

Identifier

Publisher

Bmj Supportive & Palliative Care

Date

2014

Subject

Attitude To Death; Bereavement; Chaplaincy Service Hospital/standards; Female; Hospitals Maternity/organization & Administration; Humans; Ireland; Male; Pastoral Care; Pregnancy; Professional-family Relations; Spirituality; Stillbirth/psychology
Bereavement; Chaplain; Pastoral Care; Spiritual Care; Stillbirth

Description

Background The death of a baby is recognised as one of the most difficult bereavements with life-long impact for parents. How bereaved parents are cared for influences their grief journey. Optimal holistic care is provided when the physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs of parents are attended to. This study reviewed how spiritual care is provided to bereaved parents following stillbirth in maternity units in Ireland and the impact of stillbirth on healthcare chaplains.

Methods This was a mixed methods study using semistructured qualitative interviews with hospital chaplains in Irish maternity units. Quantitative data about the provision of services to bereaved parents were collated from the interviews. Qualitative data were analysed thematically to identify key themes.

Results 20 chaplains from 17 units participated in the study (85% of Irish maternity units). 12 chaplains (60%) are formally accredited chaplains; only one has received specialist training in perinatal bereavement care. 11 chaplains (55%) provide follow-up bereavement care. Seven chaplains (35%) did not feel part of the multidisciplinary team. The main themes that emerged were the impact of stillbirth, suffering and the challenge to faith creating inner conflict and doubt.

Conclusions The provision of spiritual care following stillbirth in Ireland is diverse. Spiritual care in this specialised area by chaplains who are not professionally trained and accredited potentially impacts quality and depth of care. Chaplains experience considerable impact and challenge to personal faith and belief as they provide care. Recommendations are made for ongoing education and greater support for chaplains.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

June 2016 List

Citation

Daniel Nuzum; Sarah Meaney; Keelin O'Donoghue, “The Provision Of Spiritual And Pastoral Care Following Stillbirth In Ireland: A Mixed Methods Study,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed October 20, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/10926.

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