Rev Dr Andrew Goodhead, Spiritual Care Lead, St Christopher’s Hospice, UK, and member of the Education Group of the EAPC Spiritual Care in Palliative Care Task Force
The Spiritual Care Task Force groups: research, implementation, and education work to ensure that spirituality and spiritual care remain at the front of people’s minds and at the heart of palliative care provision. For some, working in small teams or alone, awareness of education resources can be difficult. The education group has decided to create a means to discover, simply and quickly, education opportunities across the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC). Shared education can overcome isolation and improve clinical practice.
The education group plans to create an easy-to-access ‘one-stop-shop’ on the EAPC website detailing education and training available to members of the EAPC. This will be in the form of a matrix on the EAPC website onto which palliative care services can add details of courses they are providing. The provision of spiritual care to patients and family members is important, and the first aim of the matrix is to bring together opportunities for education that will allow professionals to continue to develop skills and bed spiritual care practice into their everyday work into one easily accessible place.
The matrix will also indicate how much, and at what level, education in spiritual care is being offered and to which disciplines. The education group is really interested to know how much of this education is delivered multi-professionally and how much is for undergraduate students. The matrix will become a resource for individuals and institutions. It is hoped that sufficient information will be available for potential participants to join a course or event, delivered in their own language, either in their own country, or in another country.
Over time, the group hopes to create a core curriculum that disciplines can use to create tailored education programmes, and to facilitate meeting the competencies suggested by the EAPC White Paper Core Competencies in palliative care: an EAPC White Paper on palliative care education – part 1.1 Contributors to the matrix will be invited to state which of the competencies in the White Paper are met by the training 2 being offered. This is a deliberate early attempt to encourage course providers to think critically about the content of the course, who the course is for and at what level the teaching and training is delivered.
For the education group, the competencies offer a means of ‘benchmarking’ the delivery of training and education across the EAPC, so that professionals and volunteers who support patients, will be working at a ‘pan-EAPC’ level to meet need and support spiritual distress.
Over the next two years, the education group plans to make the website matrix the ‘go to’ place for those seeking education courses and will begin to create a curriculum of core topics for those who want to offer education in spiritual care, based on the competencies of the White Paper.
1. Giamondi C., Larkin P. & Payne S. (2013) Core competencies in palliative care: an EAPC White Paper on palliative care education – part 1. European Journal of Palliative Care. Vol. 20. No. 2. 86-145.
2. See P. 141, Section 5 Meet Patients’ Spiritual Needs.
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