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Spiritual Wellness Research

Saint Luke’s Health System’s Clinical Pastoral Education Program requires its chaplain residents to conduct a research project addressing a particular health and spirituality subject. These projects offer a theologically informed spiritual care strategy for the care of patients, family, and staff directly affected by a particular health-related subject, such as trauma, stroke, heart conditions, palliative care, cancer, or ethical issues.

Recent highlights

Chaplain resident Claire Gorres conducted a qualitative research project about the effects of heart chakra meditation (an ancient Indian practice) on patients with medical heart failure problems by offering them a guided meditation practice and assessing their sense of well-being before and after the meditation experience. The analysis of the patients in her study showed that on average the heart chakra mediation helped the patients become less anxious. The results illustrate that the meditation helped most patients shift toward a sense of being comforted verses unable to overcome difficulties (3.63 average shift), and toward deeper inner peace verses angered by things outside their control (3.38 average shift). Of course, more quantitative research with a larger sample size is needed to determine the effectiveness of heart chakra meditation on patients with medical heart failure problems.

Chaplain resident Mark Pridmore examined and documented the experience and attitudes of clergy, chaplains, and social workers in relation to incidents of elder abuse in his research at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. Current estimates are that one in 10 older adults experience some form of elder abuse but as few as one in 24 cases are reported. His literary review, research, and spiritual work with patients and staff at Saint Luke’s resulted in his proposal to the SLHS Innovation Center Team. Mark’s proposal invites Saint Luke’s Health System to implement a multidisciplinary team to address elder abuse in patients/families. The team would also respond to cases of patients who are experiencing or are suspected to be experiencing elder abuse. The multidisciplinary team would assess and address elder abuse in SLHS patients medically, psychosocially, legally, spiritually, emotionally, and with regard to justice. It would explore and propose policy/protocol development, propose standards of care and best practices, encourage patient advocacy, and provide ongoing education of hospital staff.

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Saint Luke's Hospital
4401 Wornall Road
Kansas City, MO 64111