There is now a substantial body of literature on spirituality and spiritual care in healthcare. Despite the fact that many hospice chaplains are finding that they have to explain, if not justify, spiritual care, they have authored very little of that literature. Researched and written by a retired hospice chaplain, this article may help to redress the balance. The paper summarizes the history of spirituality and spiritual care in English healthcare, considers the significance of Cicely Saunders’s spirituality for her vision of hospice, and presents some of the findings from my ongoing doctoral research. Using guided interviews, the author sought to discover how hospice chaplains understand spirituality in their practice of spiritual care and in their descriptions of their own spirituality. Analysis of the twenty-five interviews revealed difficulties in finding a language that both expresses spirituality and the ‘soft’ descriptions of what happens in spiritual care and satisfies the ‘inquisition’ of outcome-oriented management.
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