With COVID-19 Patients in the Hospital Wards: The Experience of Iranian Clergy Visits

Nadereh Memaryan, Mahdieh Saeidi, Mohammad Sadeq Ahmadi, Reza Salehian, Mojtaba Maasoum Beygi, Mahdiyeh Arabiyeh


With the dramatic changes in crisis, it is essential to pay attention to spirituality in societies. When grief, illness, and mourning have become part of people's lives, the cleric can play an essential role in the healing process. This qualitative study shows a practice from the presence of Iranian clergy in hospitals in the Covid-19 epidemic. In these semi-structured interviews, the focus was on the three main questions, "What can I do for you as a cleric?", "What do you want to talk about?" and "Could I answer your questions, or do we need to meet again?". Each of the reports was considered a unit of analysis, and after reading them several times, the codes were extracted, and then the codes were categorized, and the main themes were formed. The three main themes are the joy of talking to a cleric, asking religious-spiritual questions, and psycho-socio-economic concerns. The process of empathy formed by the presence of clergy in the Hospital increases the connection of people with spirituality, leading to a sense of peace in the patients and in the treatment atmosphere.



Covid-19; Spirituality; Religious; Clergy; Iranian

Full Text:



Abdi, M. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Iran: Actions and problems. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 41(6), 754-755.

Behzadifar, M., Ghanbari, M. K., Bakhtiari, A., Behzadifar, M., & Bragazzi, N. L. (2020). Ensuring adequate health financing to prevent and control the COVID-19 in Iran. International journal for equity in health, 19, 1-4.

Roman, N. V., Mthembu, T. G., & Hoosen, M. (2020). Spiritual care–‘A deeper immunity’–A response to Covid-19 pandemic. African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine, 12(1).

Zollfrank, A. A., Trevino, K. M., Cadge, W., Balboni, M. J., Thiel, M. M., Fitchett, G., ... & Balboni, T. A. (2015). Teaching health care providers to provide spiritual care: a pilot study. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 18(5), 408-414.

Ferrell, B. R., Handzo, G., Picchi, T., Puchalski, C., & Rosa, W. E. (2020). The urgency of spiritual care: COVID-19 and the critical need for whole-person palliation. Journal of pain and symptom management, 60(3), e7-e11.

Goodman, B. (2020). Faith in a time of crisis.

Pargament, K. I., Koenig, H. G., Tarakeshwar, N., & Hahn, J. (2001). Religious struggle as a predictor of mortality among medically ill elderly patients: A 2-year longitudinal study. Archives of internal Medicine, 161(15), 1881-1885.

Giffen, S., & Macdonald, G. (2020). Report for the Association of Chaplaincy in General Practice on Spiritual Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 8(2), 265-276.

Koenig, H. G. (2020). Ways of protecting religious older adults from the consequences of COVID-19. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 28(7), 776-779.

Drummond, D. A., & Carey, L. B. (2020). Chaplaincy and spiritual care response to COVID-19: An Australian case study–the McKellar Centre. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 8(2), 165-179.

Selman, L. E., Chao, D., Sowden, R., Marshall, S., Chamberlain, C., & Koffman, J. (2020). Bereavement support on the frontline of COVID-19: recommendations for hospital clinicians. Journal of pain and symptom management, 60(2), e81-e86.

Carey, L. B., & Cohen, J. (2015). The utility of the WHO ICD-10-AM pastoral intervention codings within religious, pastoral and spiritual care research. Journal of Religion and Health, 54(5), 1772-1787.

Swift, C. (2020). Being there, virtually being there, being absent: chaplaincy in social care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 8(2), 154-164.

World Health Organization. (2020). Practical considerations and recommendations for religious leaders and faith-based communities in the context of COVID-19: interim guidance, 7 April 2020 (No. WHO/2019-nCoV/Religious_Leaders/2020.1). World Health Organization.

Hsieh, H. F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative health research, 15(9), 1277-1288.

Elo, S., & Kyngäs, H. (2008). The qualitative content analysis process. Journal of advanced nursing, 62(1), 107-115.

Graneheim, U. H., & Lundman, B. (2004). Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse education today, 24(2), 105-112.


Raedel, D. B., Wolff, J. R., Davis, E. B., & Ji, P. (2020). Clergy attitudes about ways to support the mental health of sexual and gender minorities. Journal of religion and health, 1-20.

Author (2017)

James, B. O., Igbinomwanhia, N. G., & Omoaregba, J. O. (2014). Clergy as collaborators in the delivery of mental health care: An exploratory survey from Benin City, Nigeria. Transcultural psychiatry, 51(4), 569-580.

Heseltine-Carp, W., & Hoskins, M. (2020). Clergy as a frontline mental health service: a UK survey of medical practitioners and clergy. General psychiatry, 33(6).

Hermann, C. P. (2001, January). Spiritual needs of dying patients: a qualitative study. In Oncology nursing forum (Vol. 28, No. 1).

Thomas, J., & Barbato, M. (2020). Positive religious coping and mental health among Christians and Muslims in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Religions, 11(10), 498.

Shirzad, F., Dadfar, M., & Kazemzadeh Atoofi, M. (2020). Spirituality in Iran: from theory to clinical practice. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 23(7), 653-656.

Dein, S., Loewenthal, K., Lewis, C. A., & Pargament, K. I. (2020). COVID-19, mental health and religion: An agenda for future research.

Krause, N., & Bastida, E. (2009). Core religious beliefs and providing support to others in late life. Mental health, religion & culture, 12(1), 75-96.

Hall, D. E. (2020). We Can Do Better: Why Pastoral Care Visitation to Hospitals is Essential, Especially in Times of Crisis. Journal of religion and health, 59(5), 2283-2287.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18415/ijmmu.v8i6.2613


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding (IJMMU) ISSN 2364-5369
Copyright © 2014-2018 IJMMU. All rights reserved.