Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Hooper, Lisa M.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Estes, Eileen O.

Committee Member

Estes, Eileen O.

Committee Member

Evans-Andris, Melissa

Committee Member

Head, Barbara A.

Author's Keywords

interdisciplinary teams; palliative care


In 2030, the population of those 65 years and older is projected to be 72 million, which will represent 20% of adults in the United States. This large group will have affected many aspects of our society, including families and healthcare providers. Decisions about medical care, caregiving, financial concerns, and new circumstances in living arrangements will be made. Perhaps no aspect of life will be as important as how one spends the end-of-life. Importantly, the care that individuals receive is likely an important aspect of this end-of-life experience. Interdisciplinary palliative care teams provide effective and comprehensive end-of-life care for patients and their families; however, barriers exist that often impede their effectiveness. The current qualitative study explored some of the often-reported barriers evidenced in the literature base; more specifically, the study explored written reflections of chaplain and social work interns after they completed clinical placement with an interdisciplinary palliative care team. Findings from the data revealed five themes (i.e., Learning Lessons, Disappointment, Being There, Dealing with Family Matters, and Making Hard Decisions), which aligned with both groups of interns. Two themes were identified that describe unique chaplain or social work discipline-specific roles and interventions (i.e., Intern as Existential Comforter and Intern as Psychosocial Resourcer). The meaning and importance of the findings in the context of the literature base are discussed. Directions for future research for palliative care and interdisciplinary teams are offered. Suggestions for diverse providers, counselors, and counselor training programs are provided.

Included in

Counseling Commons