Characteristics of Pastoral Care That Contribute to Better Patient Outcomes (from the Patients' Viewpoint)
What is outcomes research? Outcomes research studies the end results of medical care-the effect of the health care process on the health and well-being of patients. . . . Insurance companies, employers, state and federal governments and consumers are all looking to outcomes research for information that will help them make better decisions about what kind of medical care is appropriate (and should be reimbursed), for whom, and when. Constraints of money and the time it takes to conduct large, long term clinical trials is a major challenge of outcomes research. One strategy of overcoming this barrier is to use . . . simple questionnaires (in which) patients . . . evaluate their own . . . health care. (Foundation for Health Services Research, 1994)
Most chaplains agree that the profession of hospital pastoral care needs outcomes research. It would demonstrate how chaplains make a difference in patient outcomes and the quotation above suggests the use of "simple questionnaires" such as the PSI. Accordingly, we included three statements in the PSI concerning outcomes ("The chaplain's visits made my hospitalization easier," " . . . contributed to my getting better faster," and " . . . contributed to my readiness to return home"). The results reported here identify background characteristics and other PSI items whose scores significantly predict responses to these three statements.