Many oncology patients see both chaplains and consultation-liaison (C-L) psychiatrists during medical hospitalizations. Studies show that spirituality and mental health influence one another, and that patients often prefer that physicians understand their spirituality. Though models of inpatient chaplaincy-psychiatry collaboration likely exist, none are apparent in the literature. In this study, we present one model of chaplaincy-psychiatry collaboration, hypothesizing that both specialties would find the intervention helpful.
From April through December 2015, the C-L psychiatry service at Brigham & Women's Hospital piloted 13 sessions of interdisciplinary rounds, where chaplains and C-L psychiatrists discussed common oncology patients. Participants completed questionnaires including quantitative and qualitative prompts before the intervention, after each session, and at the study's conclusion.
Eighteen individuals completed baseline questionnaires. Between baseline and final surveys, the proportion of participants describing themselves as "very satisfied" with the 2 services' integration rose from 0-36%. The proportion of participants feeling "not comfortable" addressing issues in the other discipline declined from 17-0%. The most frequently chosen options on how discussions had been helpful were that they had enhanced understanding of both patient needs (83.3%) and the other discipline (78.6%). Qualitative data yielded similar themes. At conclusion, all respondents expressed preference that interdisciplinary rounds continue.
This study describes a model of enhancing collaboration between chaplains and C-L psychiatrists, an intervention not previously studied to our knowledge. A pilot intervention of the model was perceived by both specialties to enhance both patient care and understanding of the other discipline.