Spiritual feasts: meaningful conversations between hospice volunteers and patients

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2011 Nov;28(7):483-6. doi: 10.1177/1049909111398238. Epub 2011 Mar 10.


Conversations between hospice volunteers and patients provide patients with emotional and social support, and they are meaningful and satisfying to volunteers. Through questionnaires and interviews, hospice volunteers were asked to describe a meaningful conversation with a patient. Many volunteers stated that all conversations were meaningful. Most, however, were able to describe one specific conversation, though they noted that meaningful conversations cannot be forced and often arise after many interactions. Prominent themes were the meaning of life, experiences and life stories, talk about death and spirituality, discussions of families and relationships, and shared interests. Volunteers expressed appreciation for the opportunity to learn about patients' lives and to gain life lessons. They also indicated the need to listen and respond without judgment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Hospice Care*
  • Humans
  • Patients
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Social Support*
  • Spirituality*
  • Volunteers