• clients and caregivers;
  • palliative care;
  • spiritual engagement

This paper aims to explicate the essence of spiritual engagement from the perspective of palliative care clients and their caregivers. Van Manen's hermeneutic phenomenological approach guided this study. In-depth interviews of 14 rural Australian participants with experience of a life-limiting condition provided rich discourse of the lived experience of spiritual engagement. This research highlights spiritual engagement represented in a relational model developed from a creative synthesis of the emerging themes. Spiritual engagement is associated with ‘personal transformation’, ‘human values of love, compassion and altruism’, ‘maintaining relationships’, ‘participating in religious practices’ and ‘culture’. The findings of this research are supported by Mayes’ observations on spirituality, that is, the ‘pursuit of a trans-personal and trans-temporal reality that serves as the ontological ground for an ethic of compassion and service’.