Spiritual care in palliative care: How spiritual was Trondheim?

Carlo Leget, Vice-president of the EAPC and Co-Chair of the Task Force on Spiritual Care in Palliative Care

Members of Spiritual Care Task Force present in Trondheim

EAPC World Research Congress 2012: some of the members of the Task Force on Spiritual Care who were in Trondheim

One of the big surprises of the World Research Congress in Trondheim was the explicit attention to spiritual care in the programme. Of course, as co-chair of the Taskforce on Spiritual Care, I may seem to be biased but this time I think there was some hard evidence that research in spiritual care is a growing phenomenon. In the first set of three plenary lectures Mieke Vermandere, a GP from Belgium, gave an interesting presentation defining the essence of spiritual care. Not an easy job since there are many elements considered to be relevant from the perspective of different disciplines. Mieke, however, managed to identify some key points that will fuel her further research among GPs in her country. For spiritual care is everybody’s business since it refers to what is meaningful for patients.

Dr Gary Rodin

Dr Gary Rodin

On the second day, Gary Rodin’s plenary lecture about research on psychological and social factors in palliative care showed how attention to spiritual issues is related to, and  can be supported by, research in psycho-social issues.

For members of our task force a highlight of the congress was the presentation of the Early Researcher Award to Lucy Selman, task force member and one of the driving forces behind the online survey to identify research priorities in spiritual care that began in early April this year. In her plenary presentation Lucy focused on measuring spiritual outcomes by discussing how she did research on the construct of ‘feeling at peace’ in an African setting.

These plenary sessions, of course, were only the part of the programme that drew most of the attention. In the afternoon, different oral presentations and posters on research in spiritual care showed how the field is developing rapidly. One of the posters that may become especially significant in the future was the one presenting the first results of the European survey mentioned above. Based on 710 unique responses of professionals in palliative care from 70 countries, the top three research priorities identified were:

1. the development and evaluation of conversation models

2. the evaluation of screening tools for identifying spiritual needs

3. the development and evaluation of spiritual interventions.

Last chance to complete the online survey
Because of the great focus on spiritual care research in Trondheim, we have decided to extend the deadline of the online survey until the end of June. Since the congress, more than 100 new responses have already been received. For those who haven’t yet had a chance to contribute, please give 10 minutes of your time and complete the online survey here.

Find out more…
Click here to find out more about the EAPC Task Force on Spiritual Care in Palliative Care.

Look out for Dr Lucy Selman’s post about the research that led to her winning the Early Researcher Award – this will be published later this week or next.


This entry was posted in EAPC Board Members, EAPC Congresses, EAPC Taskforces/special projects and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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