Philip Daniel Austin, Roderick Macleod, Philip John Siddall, Wilfred McSherry, Richard Egan


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JSS 7.1

JSS 7.1 Spiritual care training is needed for clinical & non-clinical staff to manage patients’ spiritual needs

by Dr Philip Austin, Prof. Roderick Macleod & Prof. Philip Siddall, Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich, Australia;
Prof. Wilf McSherry, Staffordshire University/Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Shrewsbury, UK &
Dr Richard Egan, Cancer Society, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Journal for the Study of Spirituality 7, no. 1, 2017, pp. 50-63

As health-care moves towards a more person-centred approach, spiritual care has become more important in patients’ care. Recent evidence shows positive associations between both recognizing and addressing patient spiritual needs and health outcomes. Thus, we conducted a cross-sectional survey to determine levels in understanding of patients’ spiritual needs and spiritual care among clinical and non-clinical staff working with people with chronic and terminal conditions. We administered an adaptedversion of the Royal College of Nursing online Spirituality and Spiritual Care Rating Scale (SSCRS) to hospital and community care staff. In total, 437 of 2845 eligible staff (15%) responded to the survey. Most participants agreed that spiritual care is fundamental to health care (n = 322, 88%) and that care-giving organizations should provide support for dealing with patients’ spiritual needs (n = 311, 85%). Dementia care staff encountered patient spiritual needs most often (p = 0.0001). While participants recognized patients’ spiritual needs (mean-81%), only 51 (14%) stated they were always able to do so. We show that spiritual care training is needed for all staff having contact with people suffering chronic or terminal conditions. While respondents can identify definitions of spiritual needs, their ability to recognize associated behaviours and meet these needs is uncertain. The findings provide support for further studies to develop an evidence-based model of spiritual care training.

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