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OA35 Shared humanity, shared mortality – spiritual care in care homes
  1. Mark Thomas
  1. The National Gold Standards Framework Centre, UK

Abstract

Background Currently a fifth of the population die in care homes and most residents are in the final year of life. Spiritual care is recognised as important (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE] Quality Standards, Leadership Alliance) yet there is little teaching for care homes’ staff in this vital area. Spiritual care is intrinsic in the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) programmes, it is one of the standards for GSF accreditation, yet often health and social care professionals are unaware or unconfident in this area, with a tendency to confuse spirituality with religion.

Aim To develop a Spiritual Care course to supplement the range of GSF programmes, especially for care homes, to increase confidence and ability of staff caring for people nearing the end of life. While we need to bring professional expertise to bear in our caring, we must also bring our humanity, our lack of answers and our ability to listen with mindfulness and compassion.

Method Working in collaboration with Staffordshire University, blending academic and practical expertise, we developed a one day workshop and filmed a four-module distance-learning course.

Results Evaluations have shown a broadening of awareness and perspective, increased confidence in assessing and meeting spiritual needs, greater self-care and resilience amongst staff and a more creative interpretation of spiritual care helping to meet the needs of care homes’ residents.

Conclusion Early use of this spiritual care workshop and course for care homes’ staff has been well received and encouraging. Sharing our common human experience of loss and mortality leads to greater resilience through inner transformation.

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