Patterns and meanings of prayer in hospice caregivers: an exploratory study.


An exploratory study was conducted into the role of prayer in the personal and professional lives of caregivers to the dying. Background questionnaires were completed by 78 counselors, doctors, nurses, and volunteers who were associated with hospice programs in Arizona. Semistructured interviews were then conducted with 24 men and women who were selected randomly from the pool of questionnaires. Most of the caregivers described themselves as being very religious. The typical caregiver makes frequent use of prayer as a means of helping her/himself to cope with the stresses and challenges encountered in hospice work. These prayers are most often private, spontaneous, and improvised, rather than reiterations of formalized prayer texts. The caregivers seldom pray with patients and family, or petition God for particular interventions. Essentially, prayer is considered to be a vital but personal way of maintaining the person's own hope, strength, and wisdom. Comparisons are made with a related study of prayer behavior and attitudes conducted with participants at a national conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling.

Cite this paper

@article{Schneider1993PatternsAM, title={Patterns and meanings of prayer in hospice caregivers: an exploratory study.}, author={Sherrie Schneider and Robert Kastenbaum}, journal={Death studies}, year={1993}, volume={17 6}, pages={471-85} }