A project funded by the Life Changes Trust
The overall purpose of our two- year project was to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia who are living in care homes – by increasing our understanding of the role of spirituality, faith, and religion in their lives, and by encouraging the provision of an environment that actively works to lift the spirits of those with dementia and their relatives. For the purposes of this project, we propose to use the definition of spiritual care used by NHS Education for Scotland.
‘Spiritual Care is person centred care which seeks to help people (re)discover hope, resilience and inner strength in times of illness, injury, transition and loss.’
The main question the project sought to address was: ‘what needs to be done to ensure that residential care provision in Scotland takes seriously issues of spirituality, faith, and religion?’.
The project has two strands:
- A mapping exercise exploring and describing the key ways in which residential care providers are currently delivering spiritual care to people living with dementia. This will highlight pointers for policy development, education and training, and professional practice.
This resulted in the Report:
“We need to de-mystify the word ‘spiritual’. People say ‘Oh I don’t believe in this’, but it’s a broader and wider thing.”Care home manager
- A practical initiative focused on recognising and meeting the spiritual needs of people with advanced dementia. This is an area of spiritual care that is recognised as needing development. The initiative will be aimed at care facilities and will be based on ‘The Purple Bicycle Project’. The use of the Purple Bicycle approach has been agreed by Professor Swinton and Dr Mowat, the creators of the process. The project is running concurrently with the mapping exercise. In this way, the overall project will have theoretical, policy and practical outcomes.
The Purple Bicycle
This is a person- centred spiritual care resource which gives the person with dementia, carers, relatives, and friends an opportunity to review and sustain relationships that are meaningful and sincere. It brings together caring practices that are often found individually within organisations that care for older people. Its unique contribution is that these practices are presented as a linked and coherent expression of care and concern for the spiritual lives of people with dementia. The project consisted of a purposeful six-step process to which participants are introduced in a two- day workshop.