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Chaplains Work in Primary Care

Snowden, Austyn; Telfer, Iain; Vandenhoeck, Anne; Verhoef, Joost; Gibbon, Alan


Iain Telfer

Anne Vandenhoeck

Joost Verhoef

Alan Gibbon


Health is holistic, but health services are often not. Primary care is the first point of contact for patients in the UK, and at least two in every three present with complex bio-psycho-socio-economic issues. In Scotland, the Community Chaplaincy Listening (CCL) service was created to see if chaplains could help. CCL involves specially trained chaplains listening to patients referred to them by general practitioners (GP) for spiritual support. Between 2018 and 2019, 143 people used CCL and completed baseline and post-discharge outcome measures. Mean Scottish PROM scores rose from 7.94 (± 3.4) at baseline to 12 (± 3.5) post discharge, a statistically and clinically significant rise of 4.06 (95% CI, 3–5.12), t(50) = 7.7, p < 0.0001, d = 1.08. The improvement was seen whether patients self-described as religious, spiritual, both, or neither. Health-related quality of life outcomes were mixed but patients referred to the service scored some of the lowest baseline EQ-5D-3L scores ever seen in the literature. Together these results suggest that CCL worked in primary care, especially for patients historically considered “difficult to treat.” Limitations of the study are considered alongside implications for commissioners and service developers.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 11, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 11, 2022
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date May 17, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 11, 2022
Journal Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy
Print ISSN 0885-4726
Electronic ISSN 1528-6916
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 2
Pages 211-228
Keywords Chaplain, measurement, outcome, primary care, quantitative
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