Spirituality in palliative home care: a framework for the clinician
SourceSupportive Care in Cancer, 21, 4, (2013), pp. 1061-1069
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
Supportive Care in Cancer
SubjectNCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health ONCOL 2: Age-related aspects of cancer
PURPOSE: Spiritual care at the end of life remains poorly understood despite its promotion by the World Health Organisation. The purpose of this paper was to develop a consensus-based framework of the main elements of spiritual care in palliative home care. METHODS: Expert meeting using the nominal group technique, followed by a two-stage web-based Delphi process, was used. Experts from three stakeholder groups (physicians, professional spiritual care givers and researchers) representing two countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) participated in this study. RESULTS: Fourteen elements of spiritual care were retained: (1) being sensitive to patient's fear of the dying process; (2) listening to the patient's expectations and wishes about the end of life; (3) giving attention to patient's wishes about the design of the farewell; (4) offering rituals if the patient experiences them as meaningful; (5) listening to the stories, dreams and passions of the patient; (6) helping the patient find strength in inner resources; (7) connecting with the patient in truth, openness and honesty; (8) supporting communication and quality of relationships; (9) making sure the patient feels comfortable and safe; (10) seeing spirituality as an interwoven, though specific dimension; (11) caring for your own spirituality; (12) knowing and accepting your vulnerability; (13) being able to learn from your patient; and (14) having an interdisciplinary team that is there when needed. CONCLUSIONS: The experts agreed to the 14 main elements of spiritual care in palliative home care. There were no differences in this regard between the stakeholder groups. This study provides a first step towards the development of an interdisciplinary spiritual care model in palliative home care.
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