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P-95 Spiritual care reframed in a time of crisis
  1. Karen Murphy
  1. Weston Hospicecare, Weston-super-Mare, UK


Spiritual care provision in palliative care has faced considerable challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chaplains and spiritual care teams found themselves working in very different circumstances and needing to adapt to the requirements of their organisation.

The value and role of spiritual care support for patients, families and staff was highlighted in an international research study conducted by the European Research Institute for Chaplaincy in Healthcare (ERICH). This presentation explores the findings of this study in regard to answering the following questions: What was lost?; What was effective?; What changed?; What new learning will be taken into future models of spiritual care?

The study contains responses from all over the world, giving a full picture into how spiritual care were deployed and how adaptive, flexible patterns of offering spiritual care emerged. There was a good response from UK chaplains, especially from palliative care units. This presentation particularly focuses on the experience of chaplains working in end-of-life care, drawing on the author’s personal experience alongside chaplains belonging to the Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains.

A significant theme emerging from the study and experience of those involved in end-of-life care, is that the presence of chaplaincy teams and spiritual care provision made a significant impact to overall support and care of patients, families and staff. There were, however, notable losses of spiritual care provision occurring due to financial pressures on hospices. This trend is at odds with the value placed on spiritual care as described in the study. The presentation will describe the changes that have taken place in spiritual care provision during the pandemic and stresses the significant contribution chaplains are continuing to offer to the wellbeing of patients, families and staff.

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