We based our discussions on 2 recent research articles:
Research tells us that there is still confusion about the role of spiritual care. Many practitioners cannot articulate their own role and are unclear about the evidence of patient outcomes. We also know that well-integrated spiritual care departments were able to innovate and positively contribute to the transformation required during the first wave of Covid-19.
The evidence points to the challenges but also to the opportunities that present themselves. Managers at the SCMN spoke not only about their challenges, but also about being valued and well-integrated within the multidisciplinary team in their health service. Increased staff support was an integral part of service delivery for many spiritual care departments during Covid-19.
Here in Australia, we have mixed models and funding streams for spiritual care. The research by Best, Rajaee & Vandenhoeck calls for “continued work on assessing outcomes as well as increasing the professionalisation of chaplaincy…in the healthcare context.” Together with our stakeholders, Spiritual Health Association continues to support health services to provide a professional and quality spiritual care service. View SHA’s Guidelines for Quality Spiritual Care in Health.
We will continue this conversation next month with examples of best practice within well-integrated spiritual care departments. We will also share what are the effective methods to advocate for the provision of spiritual care.
Please contact Christine Hennequin if you are a spiritual care coordinator/manager/director in an Australian health service and would like to join the Spiritual Care Management Network.