Spiritual Care Education in Continuing Care units in one health board area in Scotland: A qualitative appreciative enquiry into spiritual care delivery by health care workers
Collaborative study between Faith in Older People and NHS Lothian Healthcare Chaplaincy
- Ruth Aird: Interim NES National coordinator for GPN Scotland
- Carrie Applegath: Interim Head of Spiritual Care, NHS Lothian
- Maureen O’Neill: Director Faith in Older People
Spiritual healthcare has been the subject of many debates in higher educational institutions and hospitals for many years and the SGHD has stated explicitly in policy documents that spiritual care is integral to healthcare. It has also stated that all Health Service staff are spiritual care providers (see HDL 2002 76 and CEL 2008 49). In following up the earlier guidance, each Health Board has been required to draw up a spiritual care policy which applies across the board area. Health boards have an obligation to deliver spiritual care specifically considering key policy drivers from a range of health-related policies such as the palliative care delivery plan (Scottish Government 2015). The need to ensure that spiritual care education is provided is encompassed in the guidance issued in 2008.
NHS Lothian Spiritual Care unit and Faith in Older People collaborated to undertake a small study in nine Hospital Based complex clinical care (HBCCC) units looking at the perceived definition of spiritual care and its delivery at the point of need. The conclusion of the study was that the definition of spiritual care was largely unknown and, while often instinctively delivered, had no sense of cohesiveness and structure in its delivery. Education in spiritual care was found to be inconsistent and not always accessible. There was also a lack of awareness of the availability of education and priority was given to the day to day clinical tasking, taking precedence over the person centred approach.
Aim of the study:
The aim of this study is to examine the perception of spiritual care and its delivery in hospital based complex clinical care units, including existing sources of education in spiritual care for staff and the learning needs required to deliver this care at the point of need and recommendations for the delivery of education in spiritual care to staff in HBCCC units will be made and the results were disseminated at a conference for chaplains and health care staff in May 2017. A report of the conference ‘Enhancing Spiritual Care’ is available.