Call for Papers

Christians and the Global Palliative Care Movement

In 2014 the World Health Assembly agreed on a declaration, “Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course,” with member states committing to establish palliative care as part of their health service provision.

Christians have been involved in providing care to the dying down through the ages. In the last century St Theresa of Calcutta highlighted the plight of the dying poor and dedicated her life to caring for them. For Dame Cicely Saunders her Christian faith was central to her vision to modernize care of the dying and establish St Christopher’s hospice in London 50 years ago this year. Many Christians continue to be active in palliative care throughout the world and contribute to palliative care development in many ways. Palliative care programs are being developed globally, and new insights are being discovered in various cultural contexts.

The close connections of Christianity with care for the dying raise timely questions: What is it that makes Christians in health care particularly interested in palliative care? Is it because palliative care gives them a distinctive way in which to put their faith into practice, or is it because attention to the spiritual domain is seen as an essential part of palliative care practice? What are Christian responses to cultural and legal pressures for physician assisted suicide? What is it that encourages lay Christians to volunteer in hospices or in other contexts to care for the dying?

In this special issue of Christian Journal of Global Health we are looking for articles which explore the interface between the Christian faith and palliative care in a global context. We hope to have an eclectic mix of articles including:

  • Essays exploring the philosophy and theology of care for the dying and the suffering including aspects of grief, bereavement, hope and transcendence,
  • Commentaries giving insights into the contribution of Christian spirituality to palliative care expressed in various cultures,
  • Papers that consider the history of Judeo-Christian care for the dying and Christian involvement in the modern palliative care movement,
  • Reviews of research priorities in global palliative care,
  • Case reports on innovations or cost effective clinical interventions useful in resource constrained settings,
  • Quantitative and qualitative studies related to the establishment, funding and outcomes of palliative care programs in resource-challenged settings as part of sustainable development,
  • Papers exploring the interface between palliative care, Christian mission, and the role of the church in care for the dying,
  • Case studies describing the establishment of palliative care services and educational initiatives, their ongoing development and evaluation,
  • Ethical commentaries related to care for the dying, dealing with hopelessness, and pressures to hasten death,
  • Case Studies of networking and partnerships in providing palliative care,
  • Personal accounts from Christians who have been involved in palliative care such as nurses, medics, allied health professionals, chaplains, managers, hospice volunteers, patients or bereaved family members,
  • Art or poetry pieces related to care for the dying.

These areas are not exclusive and we would welcome anyone with inquiries regarding other ideas. We would also encourage articles from those of other faith perspectives in the context of palliative care.

Deadline for this issue is 15 September 2017

Submissions on any other global health topic are always welcome throughout the year.

Resources & References

67th World Health Assembly. Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course. Geneva 24 May 2014. Available at http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA67/A67_R19-en.pdf

Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance.  Available at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnership/?p=9681

Lynch T, Connor S, Clark D. Mapping levels of palliative care development: a global update. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. June 2013; 45(6):1094-1106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2012.05.011

Reville B, Foxwell AM. The global state of palliative care—progress and challenges in cancer care. Ann Palliat Med 2014;3(3):129-138. https://doi.org/10.3978/j.issn.2224-5820.2014.07.03

Breitbart W, Rosenfeld, B, Pessin, H. Depression, Hopelessness, and Desire for Hastened Death in Terminally Ill Patients With Cancer. JAMA. 2000;284(22):2907-2911. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.284.22.2907  

Powell, RA, Mwangi-Powell, FN, Kiyange, F, Radbruch, L, and Harding, R. Palliative care development in Africa: how we can provide enough quality care?. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2011; 1: 113–114. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjspcare-2011-000101

Powell RA, et al.  Putting palliative care on the global health agenda. The Lancet Oncology 16 (2), Feb 2015: 131 – 133. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(15)70002-1