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Improving training in spiritual care: a qualitative study exploring patient perceptions of professional educational requirements

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Palliative Medicine
Issue number7
Volume23
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)601-7
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Healthcare professionals express difficulties in delivering spiritual care, despite it being a core component of palliative care national policies. The patient perspective on professional training to address difficulties has not previously been sought. The aim of this study is to describe patient suggestions for development of training to deliver spiritual care. Qualitative semi-structured in-depth 'palliative patient' interviews (n = 20) were analysed thematically. Training suggestions encompassed practical care delivery. Patients supported staff who introduced questions about spiritual needs, and they expected opportunities to engage in spiritual care discussions. The 'right' attitude for spiritual care delivery was defined as being non-judgemental, providing integrated care and showing interest in individuals. Training issues included patient perspectives of boundaries between personal and professional roles. This study provides 'palliative patient' perspectives to strengthen recommended models of spiritual care delivery. It shows that user opinions on training can be helpful not only in deciding objectives but also how to achieve them.