Discovering meaning, purpose and hope through person centred wellbeing and spiritual care: framework

The framework reflects the considerable developments resulting from the increased professionalism in spiritual care over the last twenty years. It firmly establishes the role of spiritual care as an integral part of health and social care provision.

Spiritual Care within Health and Social Care in Scotland: A National Framework

Scotland’s approach to spiritual care is a model that is recognised and respected across the world. Building on current guidance, spiritual care in Scotland has made significant developments which have contributed to its global reputation for excellent and pioneering service delivery in this area of care.

Historically, spiritual care and religious care were one and the same, but that is no longer the case. Spiritual care is there to help all who need it, regardless of their personal faith, beliefs of life stance. Spiritual care doesn’t fit easily into traditional models of care and, at times, in our modern world some may struggle to see or understand the relevance of spiritual care in our health and social care system.

Spiritual care supports people by acknowledging hopes and fears and building resilience to cope with challenging and changing circumstances. Spiritual care helps us to connect to deeply held values and beliefs which inform our life, our work and our relationships. It is in the context of such relationships that questions around change, identity, illness and loss can be explored. It enables carers and those cared for to walk together as companions, supporting each other when life is raw and painful or our certainties are shaken. Such mutually beneficial and respectful relationships must be at the heart of our health and social care system, allowing individuals to be heard, affirmed and valued.

The benefits of spiritual care can be seen by looking at the positive impact spiritual care played in supporting not only patients and carers but also staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the wide ranging and intensive support delivered by spiritual care teams and chaplains during this difficult time, spiritual care is rightly held in high regard within care settings, with a wealth of evidence to demonstrate what it can do for everybody involved in health and social care.

I pay tribute to the efforts made by those contributing to this framework, and the wide-ranging recommendations for the Scottish Government, the NHS and others to consider and reflect upon.

As we publish this framework, health and social care remain under enormous pressure as we collectively recover from the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. At this time spiritual care and the promotion of compassionate care has never been more needed. As health and social care services recover it is a priority that we take a truly holistic approach to improve people’s experience of health and social care and support the wellbeing of our workforce. By putting people at the heart of what we do, spiritual care reminds us of the importance of providing care that people really value. This framework seeks to support the delivery of evidence based spiritual care which is relevant to all health and social care professionals and those we care for; helping us to achieve the best outcome for people though the provision of high quality person centred care.

Jenni Minto MSP, Minister for Public Health and Women's Health



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