- In his article ‘Spiritual care within palliative care‘, Father Gérard T. Lagleder argues that spiritual care is neither a single intervention nor an independent discipline within palliative care, but must be seen as an integrated and indispensable part of a proper palliative care system.
- In ‘Zen meets medicine‘, Adam Miller emphasized the importance of supporting patients spiritually through the course of their illness
- In his blog post, ‘Spirituality – another vital sign on the doctor’s checklist’? Tony Lobl reviewed the Sir Halley Stewart Trust lecture on spirituality in healthcare given by Dr Christina Puchalski at the Cicely Saunders Institute at King’s College, London and argued that healthcare professionals must take their patients’ spirituality into account as one of the vitals signs at the end of life.
- In ‘When illness brings spiritual suffering‘, the Reverend Sue Wintz wrote about the role of professional chaplains in providing care to patients experiencing spiritual suffering
- In ‘Incorporating spirituality into medical education‘, Adam Miller proposes that all Canadian physicians should receive mandatory training in the provision of ‘spiritual healthcare’.
- In her article: ‘Let’s add science to healthcare chaplaincy without losing its art‘, Dr Linda Emanuel calls for further research to add to the evidence base supporting spiritual care in palliative care.
- In ‘Narrative: A route of spiritual assessment‘, the Reverend Andrew Goodhead discusses the role of narrative in the spiritual care of patients nearing the end of their lives
- In ‘Two continents, one soul: Spirituality and palliative care in Africa and North America‘, Richard A. Powell discusses the similarities in spiritual care needs between people living in Africa and North America
- In ‘Spirituality and biomedicine in South Africa: Finding our common ground‘, Dr Nicola Graham enquires into the tensions between biomedicine and traditional African beliefs
- And finally, the International edition of ehospice introduces the report: ‘Spirituality and ageing: implications for the care and support of older people‘, containing a number of useful references for anyone interested in reading further about spiritual care.
The level of engagement with this series points to the fact that spirituality in healthcare, and particularly in palliative care, is being afforded greater recognition, and more research attention is being given to the spiritual needs of patients.
However, despite this increase in attention to spiritual issues in palliative care, as I mentioned at the beginning of the series, this conversation is far from over. I encourage all ehospice readers to interrogate their assumptions regarding the spiritual wellbeing of the patients that they care for, and to engage with the excellent research being done in this field.
Thank-you again to the contributors for making this series possible.