Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 14, Pages 134: Spiritual Care through the Lens of Portuguese Palliative Care Professionals: A Qualitative Thematic Analysis

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Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 14, Pages 134: Spiritual Care through the Lens of Portuguese Palliative Care Professionals: A Qualitative Thematic Analysis


Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 14, Pages 134: Spiritual Care through the Lens of Portuguese Palliative Care Professionals: A Qualitative Thematic Analysis

Behavioral Sciences doi: 10.3390/bs14020134

Authors:
Juliana Matos
Ana Querido
Carlos Laranjeira

Providing spiritual care is paramount to patient-centered care. Despite the growing body of data and its recognized importance in palliative care, spiritual care continues to be the least advanced and most overlooked aspect. This study aims to explore the perceptions and experiences of spiritual care from the perspective of PC professionals and identify their strategies to address spiritual care issues. Data were collected through semi-structured personal interviews and managed using WebQDA software (Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal). All data were analyzed using thematic content analysis, as recommended by Clark and Braun. The study included 15 palliative care professionals with a mean age of 38.51 [SD = 5.71] years. Most participants identified as lacking specific training in spiritual care. Thematic analysis spawned three main themes: (1) spiritual care as key to palliative care, (2) floating between “shadows” and “light” in providing spiritual care, and (3) strategies for competent and spiritual-centered care. Spiritual care was considered challenging by its very nature and given the individual, relational, and organizational constraints lived by professionals working in palliative care. With support from healthcare institutions, spiritual care can and should become a defining feature of the type, nature, and quality of palliative care provision. Care providers should be sensitive to spiritual needs and highly skilled and capable of an in-the-moment approach to respond to these needs. Further research on educating and training in spiritual care competence is a priority.


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