Spiritual environment – a potential way to improve spiritual care

Kia ora koutou,

See below – we just published a paper suggesting spirituality can be improved by consideirng your organisation’s commitment to it; considering things like policy, space and chaplaincy.  This paper is about hospices, but the concept could be transferable.  What do you think?

Cheers

Richard

ps. happy to send a copy of paper if you can’t access it

BMJ Support Palliat Care doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2013-000632
  • Short report

The spiritual environment in New Zealand hospice care: identifying organisational commitment to spiritual care

  1. Richard Egan1,
  2. Rod MacLeod2,
  3. Chrystal Jaye3,
  4. Rob McGee4,
  5. Joanne Baxter5 and
  6. Peter Herbison6

+ Author Affiliations


  1. 1Cancer Society Social & Behavioural Research Unit, Te Hunga Rangahau Arai Mate Pukupuku, Department of Preventive & Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand

  2. 2HammondCare and Northern Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

  3. 3Department of General Practice and Rural Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

  4. 4Department of Preventive & Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

  5. 5Health Sciences Division, Māori Health Workforce Development Unit, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

  6. 6Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Richard Egan, Cancer Society Social & Behavioural Research Unit, Te Hunga Rangahau Arai Mate Pukupuku, Department of Preventive & Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand; richard.egan@otago.ac.nz

Abstract

Objectives Spiritual matters naturally arise in many people who have either a serious illness or are nearing end-of-life. The literature shows many examples of spiritual assessments, interventions and care; however, there is a lack of focus on organisational support for spiritual care. We aimed to ascertain the structural and operational capacity of New Zealand’s hospices to attend to the spiritual needs and concerns of patients, families and staff.

Methods As part of a larger study, a mail out cross-sectional survey was distributed to 25 New Zealand hospices and asked details from staff about facilities, practices and organisational aspects of spiritual care. Data were collated by creating a ‘hospice setting spiritual score’ based on an aggregate of eight items from the survey.

Results There was a 66% response rate. Summary scores ranged from 2 to 7 indicating that while sites delivered a range of spiritual services, all could improve the level of spiritual care they provide. The two most common items missing were ‘spiritual professional development’ and ‘formal spiritual assessment.’

Conclusions This simple setting spiritual score provides a snapshot of a hospice’s commitment to spiritual care. It could be used as a preliminary auditing tool to assist hospices in identifying organisational and operational aspects that could be improved to enhance spiritual care delivery.

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One thought on “Spiritual environment – a potential way to improve spiritual care

  1. Thank you for this. I think that if spirituality in its contemporary form is important to Kiwis and you have shown this to be so, then working with healthcare providers over their commitment and how to frame up the offering of services is crucial.

    This is particularly important in public hospitals where the model of spiritual care delivery has grown up out of a church visiting approach. When hospices were developed they were able to sidestep this older model.

    My experience as a hospital chaplain shows that whilst the public hospital model had value in its time, we are at the point where another model must be developed that recognises that the social and spiritual structure of New Zealand has changed. It’s a formidable challenge but also an exciting one.

    Thank you Richard and co for being passionate advocates for spirituality in healthcare and for the change that must be undertaken.

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