Active Listening by Hospital Chaplaincy Volunteers: Benefits, Challenges and Good Practice

A Manzano, C. Swift, SJ Closs, M Briggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Active listening (AL) is a communication technique frequently used in counselling. This study explored the feasibility of implementing a ward-based AL intervention for patients by chaplaincy volunteers in the UK National Health Service. Seven focus groups (n=47) included healthcare researchers, lecturers, nurses, patients, AL tutors, active listeners volunteers and chaplaincy volunteers. Acceptability and perceived effectiveness of a patient/volunteer listener intervention were explored. Analysis followed the framework approach. Four themes emerged: (a) Listening as a wellbeing generator; (b) Benefits of AL delivered by volunteers; (c) Spirituality and public perceptions of hospital chaplaincy; (d) Challenges of structured communication techniques in acute care. Participants reported positive attitudes towards the introduction of AL provided by volunteers in acute wards. They shared a common belief that when people are listened to, wellbeing improves through control, choice and empowerment. Patients’ acceptability of the intervention increased if it was delivered by volunteers.
Original languageUndefined
JournalHealth and Social Care Chaplaincy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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