By Ph.D. Student, Hanne Bess Boelsbjerg
Research Unit of Health, Man and Society, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark
Post Conference Ressources
Paper – download here
PowerPoint – download here
Audio Presentation – listen here
Audio Q&A – listen here
A sociological research recently conducted at the Capital Region of Denmark shows that existential and religious thoughts are more widespread among the hospitalised patients than previously assumed. This raises the question about how the existential and religious needs of the patients are meet by the staff. Are the patients sufficiently supported in their beliefs and values? What kind of help is offered to the patients when they express existential or religious distress? And how are the needs of religious patients, either with a Muslim or Christian background, being handled by the staff?
The presentation is departing from an ongoing qualitative research among chaplains and imams in hospital settings. The research sets out to describe the experiences of both chaplains and imams working with severely ill and dying patients. The intention is to map the ways by which the chaplains and imams try to help the patients to deal with their existential questioning of meaning and their experiences of suffering.
The approach to the work of the chaplains and imams will focus on the different roles with which they engage with their patients. These roles include opportunities to be a religious authority, a fellow believer or an existential counselor. Representing a particular raises the question whether they can work with patients’ existential needs in a secular context, and to what degree both believers and non-believers may find their support helpful.