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J Relig Health. 2013 Mar;52(1):159-68. doi: 10.1007/s10943-010-9451-7.

Patients' expectations of healthcare chaplaincy: a cross-sectional study in the German part of Switzerland.

Author information

  • 1Swiss Institute of Pastoral-Sociology (SPI), Gallusstrasse 24, Postfach 1926, 9001, St. Gallen, Switzerland. u.winter@gmx.ch


Identifying patients' expectations of and need for healthcare chaplaincy is important in terms of appropriate intervention. Therefore, a sample of 612 patients from 32 general hospitals and psychiatric clinics in the German part of Switzerland was surveyed about their expectations of chaplaincy service. A principal component factor analysis of participants' ratings found that the survey items fell into three distinct categories. These were the need for (1) emotional support, (2) help to cope with illness/disease, and (3) religious/spiritual assistance. Among the expectations, the need for emotional support was rated most important, followed by help to cope and, lastly, religious/spiritual assistance. Gender, religious denomination, general religiosity, and subjective health status significantly influenced these expectations. The results showed that fulfilling patients' expectations increases their overall satisfaction with, and the importance they accord to the chaplain's visit, as well as their confidence in the chaplain.

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