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Title: A hermeneutic phenomenological study of the unique role of NHS hospital chaplaincy in delivering spiritual care to people bereaved by the death of a child
Author: Campbell, Carol S.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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This study utilises a hermeneutical phenomenological framework to explore the lived experience of losing a child and how this experience may be understood theologically, with a view to exploring the delivery of spiritual care to the bereaved. This three dimensional approach takes seriously the voices of the bereaved as they influence the move towards a deeper understanding of theology, spiritual care and the unique role of the hospital chaplain. To explore the lived experience, unstructured interviews were carried out with parents and grandparents in five bereaved families following the death of a child. This included 5 mothers, 3 fathers, 5 grandmothers and 4 grandfathers. The participants were identified and recruited because of their experience of the death of a child in the family, had some concept of God and had used the chaplaincy service. They were interviewed as married couples or as individuals if there were no partners taking part. There were ten interviews conducted during the first 6 months of the research and contact approved for a 5 year period should this be necessary. Gadamer's philosophy of interpretation was essential to this process as the research involved an in-depth, thematic and hermeneutical analysis of the interviews. This analysis produced three key themes: hope and struggle with God, a new experience of community and a changed relationship with the child. The themes were then viewed from a theological perspective and the insights gained were the basis for exploring the delivery of spiritual care in NHS Scotland. The findings offer new insights into the delivery of spiritual care, key amongst the findings being: • Chaplains are not specialists in spiritual care when defined as separate from religious care. • Chaplains are specialists in theology and the language of faith where developing a ‘critical theological tool box' is essential. • Chaplains are specialists in supporting people to personally engage with the questio Chaplains are specialists in supporting people to personally engage with the question of life, giving them permission to move outside the ‘traditional box' of religion. The findings of this research will hopefully challenge and inspire chaplains to review the meaning of spiritual care and assert the unique and essential place they have within NHS Scotland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chaplains ; Hospital ; Spiritual care (Medical care)