Spiritual care is recognised as an increasingly important aspect of the care of people living with dementia. There is a growing awareness among both families and professionals that spiritual care is an essential component of holistic, person-centre care.
Spiritual Care involves developing a genuine relationship between individuals. Within this there is an acknowledgement that the clinical picture of dementia is not all that can and should be known, and that human lives are mysterious. There is more to living well than simply caring for our bodily needs. Spiritual care acknowledges the presence and importance of such things as joy, hope, meaning and purpose, as well as the reality of disease, suffering, disappointment and death.
This means that spiritual care is much broader than any one faith or religion, and is of relevance to everyone.
Research, commissioned by the Life Changes Trust, is shortly to be undertaken by a consortium of four organisations (Faith in Older People, Aberdeen University, Mowat Research, and Simon Jaquet Consultancy Services Ltd) into spiritual care in care homes in Scotland. The research aims to identify the range of approaches to spiritual care practice in care homes with people living with dementia, and to explore how to best build on this in the future. It will, above all, be a positive exercise – looking for examples (large and small) of the practical ways in which spiritual care is carried out in care homes.
An online survey is being developed in consultation and discussion with the care home sector. The survey will be sent out to all of Scotland’s 900 care homes in February 2017. It is hoped that care home managers will be able to spare the time to complete the survey (which will be brief).
Informing good practice
The results of the survey will create an important body of evidence to inform good practice across the country. It will also help to shape a training programme (‘The Purple Bicycle Project’ delivered by the same consortium of organisations) which will be taking place in Edinburgh in 2017 and in Highland, Dundee, and Dumfries for early 2018.
Key bodies in the care sector are supporting the initiative.
“The Care Inspectorate supports this important area of work, seeing spirituality as part of person centred care” (Care Inspectorate)
“Scottish Care warmly commends this work and encourages you to participate by completing the short questionnaire. Spiritual care lies at the heart of all good care home support.” (Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive, Scottish Care)
For further information about the survey, contact Simon Jaquet (Director, Simon Jaquet Consultancy Services Ltd) at [email protected]