Case studies

St Francis Hospice has introduced a comprehensive assessment of patients’ religious and spiritual needs when they are first admitted, applying to inpatients, day patients and those in the community. It was found that there has been a year on year increase in the number and quality of assessments, resulting in improved levels of spiritual care. 

What?

St Francis Hospice has introduced a comprehensive assessment of patients’ religious and spiritual needs when they are first admitted. This applies to inpatients, day patients and those in the community. There has been a year on year increase in the number and quality of assessments, resulting in improved levels of spiritual care.

Why?

All patients at St Francis Hospice in Essex, as well as their carers where appropriate, now receive a comprehensive assessment of their spiritual and religious needs when they are first admitted for hospice care. Audits show that the assessments, which apply to inpatients, day patients and those in the community, have increased in number and improved in quality each year since they were introduced in 2005. This has resulted in patients and their carers receiving improved levels of spiritual care. The decision to introduce an assessment followed an initial audit of patients’ notes which revealed very few documented spiritual and religious care conversations took place. Yet anecdotally it was known there had been discussions between patient and carer.

How?

As a result the chaplaincy department decided in collaboration with other members of the multidisciplinary team to draw up a list of specific questions so that team members had the confidence to complete an assessment of need. It was hoped this would result in improved patient care while also complying with national recommendations and guidelines. All members of the multidisciplinary team received training from members of the chaplaincy team. This training included an overview of the importance of good spiritual care and introduced the questions to be used in the assessments. Managers agreed to release staff members and over 100 people participated in these one hour workshops which were held at different times over several weeks. This meant only a few members of staff were released by any department at a time. The challenge has been to turn academic models of spiritual assessments into a workable multidisciplinary tool. One of the keys was to make this part of the baseline assessment of physical, spiritual and emotional needs of a patient. It was also important to include questions that could be easily completed and audited.

Progress?

The evidence suggests that all disciplines within the multidisciplinary team now see the relevance of this assessment to patient care. In June 2012 a series of Spirituality Workshops was introduced as mandatory training for all members of Clinical Teams. At the end of each workshop participants are encouraged to complete a questionnaire on their perception of Spiritual Care. The next step is to audit the returned questionnaires to see where future training may be helpful.

For more information

St Francis Hospice - Graham Laut (Chaplaincy Team Leader)

Tel: 01708 753319

grahamlaut@sfh.org.uk




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