The guideline was first published in 2010 and was written primarily for doctors and nurses, although is relevant to care providers from other disciplines and volunteers – anyone who is involved with the physical and psychosocial welfare of patients.
First, the guideline aims to help professionals to distinguish between:
- situations in which ordinary attention to life issues is sufficient
- situations in which patients need counselling on life issues or experience normal struggles for which counselling by an expert may be beneficial
- situations where the struggle with life issues leads to an existential crisis requiring a crisis intervention by a healthcare chaplain, a medical social worker, or a psychologist.
The guideline then offers some practical directives for providing good care in the various situations.
The guideline, in Dutch, English and German, can be downloaded from the EAPC website.
The Reverend Joep van de Geer and Professor Carlo Leget, established the EAPC Taskforce on Spiritual Care in Palliative Care in 2010 with the aim of encouraging all members of the EAPC to support spiritual care in palliative care through recognition, research, education, implementation and funding/resources – read more about the taskforce on ehospice and the EAPC website.