In 2016 PhD student and philosopher Simon Berg where working as a hospice philosopher at the Danish hospice Anker Fjord Hospice. The role of the hospice philosopher was to be a part of the interdisciplinary team. The hospice philosopher was available for patients and their families and was a different way of practicing existential care, where the act of philosophizing and thinking in the philosophical dialogues was primary. Furthermore, Simon was working together with the health care professionals partly by helping them communicate the existential dimensions of their work and partly by creating a new way of journalizing the existential dimensions of the health care work. Through his work a Ph.D. project started to take form. In January 2018 the project started in collaboration with Anker Fjord Hospice, Hospitalsenheden Vest (Herning Hospital) and Aalborg University, Centre for Dialogue and Organization (CDO).
PhD-Supervisor is Professor Finn Thorbjørn Hansen from CDO, Aalborg University.
The Ph.D. project is researching how and why a philosopher, as a dialogue partner, can be meaningful for both patients and healthcare professionals in the daily practice. The project, therefore, investigates the possible use of a hospice and hospital philosopher which is a new approach and profession when practicing existential and spiritual care.
The project is an ‘philosophical and phenomenological-oriented action research project’ and will mainly focus on the implications for the healthcare professionals when philosophizing with the “in-house-philosopher” and the patients. By using action research as the qualitative method, it is intended to instigate interventions and experiments in the daily practice where the focus will be the application of a hospice- and hospital-philosopher in the daily work. Partly by creating a way of writing a journal focussed on the existential themes regarding the patients and partly by experimenting with ways of including the patients in these reflexions and dialogues – aiming to create a focus on whole person care.
The project has the following main themes/questions
- How does an increased focus on existential themes affect patient and healthcare professionals?
- How can you create an environment where the existential themes can be reflected upon and discussed across disciplines and patient/professional-divisions? And what signifies a philosophical way of communicating, wondering and thinking about the existential dimensions?
- How can a hospice and a hospital philosopher contribute as a daily “dialogue-partner” as part of both a hospital department and a hospice?