Cicely Saunders, the founder of hospice and palliative care noted that caring for spiritual pain was part of palliative care. The search for meaning is a fundamental part of being human. The confrontation with finitude affects the search and experience of meaning and can possibly generate meaninglessness. Nurses, physicians, physiotherapists, social workers, psychologists all need to address what gives meaning in a person’s life and how that expresses itself in values, practices, traditions and belief of their patients. Generalist spiritual care is gaining momentum in research and education. But there is also specialist spiritual care done by spiritual caregivers from diverse traditions. Why are they needed and what is their perspective on palliative care and how do they contribute to the care of palliative patients and their loved ones? In this presentation I will explore specialist spiritual care within palliative care and discuss the evidence, the practice and the outcomes of specialist spiritual care from an international perspective.
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