Since FiOP was set up work has been undertaken with health and social care staff in care homes and in long stay units within health boards to better understand the perceptions of staff in relation to spiritual care. We are aware that many people only see spiritual care as being about religion and do not want to be involved but in conversation it emerges that they are often enabling and delivering spiritual care unconsciously as they help the patient or resident to fulfil what matters to them – listening to music; walking in nature; involving them in the life of the home/ward and importantly making sure that they feel listened to.
Helping students and staff understand their own spiritual needs is important in building empathy and understanding and highlights to them ways of building their own resilience when faced with diminishment, death, dying and bereavement.
FiOP has worked collaboratively with NHS Education and various spiritual care teams in NHS health boards to undertake scoping reviews of what spiritual care means to staff and to better understand how spiritual care is included in the curriculum for nurses and health and social care staff in our universities and further education colleges.
The establishment of a Spiritual Care Advisor in the Scottish Government and a Programme Board is welcomed and FiOP is pleased to be a member taking a strong focus on the practical issues in care homes and in education and training. We want to ensure that in developing health and social care strategies that spiritual care is an integral part of person-centred care reflecting a human rights approach in delivery and standards of care.
Spiritual care education has taken different forms over the years including lectures, workshops, the Purple Bicycle approach, and mentoring.