Survey of chaplain activities during the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic

European Research Institute for Chaplains in HealthcareThe European Research Institute for Chaplains in Health Care (ERICH) is conducting an international survey about changing practices in spiritual care in response to COVID-19. The worldwide pandemic has influenced the way spiritual care has been delivered in health care. The research group is seeking to collect data from across the world. Although the word “Chaplain” is used on the survey – that also includes those who reference as Pastoral Care or Spiritual Care practitioners. There is a closing date of 7 June.

The worldwide pandemic has influenced the way spiritual care has been delivered in health care. Some even say that spiritual care will never be the same after we have been forced to find other ways to connect with people, to do rituals, to support staff, and so on.

With your help, we would like to get better insight in how the pandemic influenced you and your spiritual care. Having a better understanding of this will help us better advocate for chaplaincy and spiritual care during future pandemics or other crises. It will also help us keep new practices that may have been beneficial in the ‘new normal’.

This survey was put together by teams in Europe, USA and Australia, led by the European Research Institute for Chaplains in Health Care (ERICH Thanks also to our colleagues from professional associations and research organisations around the world who have been happy to promote and disseminate this survey as widely as possible. It is open for chaplains of all continents.

We have the approval of the university ethics committee of KU Leuven, Belgium to conduct this research. The survey doesn’t ask for any personal data, and your anonymity is guaranteed. You should know that the data from the surveys will be held securely, but that it will also be analysed by the teams in Europe, USA, Australia. This is so we can maximise our understanding of what we sincerely hope will be a very large dataset.

Please take some time to fill in the survey which you can find at:

It will take you 20 to 30 min. If you wish, you can answer the open questions in your own language. There is a closing date of 7 June.

Finally, we would like to thank you for all you did and are doing for patients, their loved ones and staff.

With respect and gratitude,

Participant Information Sheet 080520

Title of study: Survey of chaplain activities during the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic

You are reading this leaflet because you are a healthcare chaplain. Please take a moment to read it. We hope you will think about taking part in this study. The study is about chaplains, and their thoughts and opinions on being involved in the Covid-19 emergency and pandemic. The aim of this study is to find out how you managed during this time so we can keep the learning in future.

What we would like you to do

If you are willing to take part, please complete the consent form on the first page of the survey and then answer the questions. It should take around 20 minutes. Once you press ‘submit’ at the end, that will complete your participation.

When will data be collected, and how will it be used?

Data collection begins now. Your responses to the survey will be analysed alongside all the other participating chaplains’ responses. The purpose of analysis is to understand how Covid-19 impacted on you and your colleagues’ work, to ascertain any similarities and differences, and most importantly, retain any new knowledge that my have emerged.

What if I don’t want to take part, or want to withdraw?

If you choose not to take part nothing will happen. You can leave the study at any time. Data already given would be retained, but no new data would be requested.

What about my privacy?

If you do agree to take part, your answers will remain anonymous. The survey asks for your gender, age and years practising as a chaplain for the sole purpose of describing the cohort of chaplains who responded. These details will be held securely and never shared beyond the team. We have a formal duty to look after your privacy. Please see the accompanying privacy notice. The purpose of the research is to find common themes. Sometimes, word for word comments made by participants are the best way of illustrating a general finding, but if we do use your words, no identifiable data will be associated with the comment.

How do I consent?

Simply check the box next to the consent statements at the beginning of the survey.

What happens to the questionnaire data?

When you get to the end, your answers are sent electronically to a password protected, secure online system called NOVI, hosted at Edinburgh Napier University.

What do I do next?

If you wish to take part please complete the consent form and the survey.

Will anyone know who I am or what I have said in the questionnaire?

No.  At no point will you be identified. All information collected during the course of the research will be securely stored in line with General Data Protection Regulations and will be destroyed ten years after the project is complete.

When will the study finish?

The study will finish for you as soon as you submit your responses. The analysis will be finished before end of 2020.

What about the results?

The results of this study will be analysed during the late 2020, and a summary of key findings will be sent to all participating chaplains.

Ethical approval

The study has been granted ethical approval by KU Leuven ethics committee

Further questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about this research, please do not hesitate to contact the research lead Prof dr. Snowden.

Complaints, further discussion & data management

If you wish to make a formal complaint, you can do this through your local procedures. If you wish to just discuss the study with someone local, please contact the person who sent you the email invite

Prof. dr. Austyn Snowden
Head of Mental Health Theme
School of Health and Social Care
Edinburgh Napier University

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