The family meeting addressing spiritual and psychosocial needs in a palliative care setting: Usefulness and challenges to implementation

Heather Tan, Anne Wilson, Ian Olver, Christopher Barton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: This study evaluated the use of a family meeting model to address the spiritual needs of palliative patients and their family members in the context of two metropolitan palliative care (PC) services offering hospital, hospice, and home care. Murphy's family meeting model that incorporates a broad understanding of spirituality was utilized. Here we report the acceptability of this model to staff and patients in these settings. Methods: Qualitative methods, informed by an interpretive approach and underpinned by Hermeneutic phenomenology, were used to evaluate a trial of the family meeting model. Participants included 12 palliative patients and 35 family members. Twelve family meetings were facilitated, by the lead author (H.T.). Following each meeting individual in-depth interviews were conducted with consenting participants. Interviews were also held with 14 PC staff from a variety of disciplines, who had referred patients to the study. Transcribed interviews were analysed utilizing Ricoeur's theory of interpretation. Findings: Patients, family members, and staff indicated that participation in a family meeting of this type would be a valuable addition to regular PC services. However, practical barriers to its application were identified and included the need for specific meeting facilitation skills, funding priorities, staff time, and possible language and cultural issues. Conclusion: This model of family meeting is potentially a very useful intervention in a setting which promotes holistic care of patients and their family members, including attention to psychosocial and spiritual care. Strategies to overcome barriers to implementation such as time and cost issues need further investigation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)66-72
    Number of pages7
    JournalProgress in Palliative Care
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


    • Family meeting
    • Palliative care
    • Spiritual care


    Dive into the research topics of 'The family meeting addressing spiritual and psychosocial needs in a palliative care setting: Usefulness and challenges to implementation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this