Spirituality in Palliative Care Practice

The Supportive Care Coalition fosters and strengthens the presence of spiritual care in palliative care team practice and promotes deeper spiritual engagement with patients and families, and within the interdisciplinary palliative care team.  Our Spirituality in Goals of Care Project engaged 20 palliative care teams from six Coalition member organizations.

NACC Award TP and Sarah Hill 4 16 crop

Supportive Care Coalition Recognized with Outstanding Colleague Award

The National Association of Catholic Chaplains, NACC, recognized the Supportive Care Coalition with its 2016 Outstanding Colleague Award at the association’s national conference in Chicago in April.  The Coalition was recognized for its work to change the climate of end-of-life care, not just for those being served but also for the professional palliative care team.  Teaching skills that include but also transcend traditional medicine, the Coalition has helped the entire care team embrace new dimensions of self-care and spiritual awareness that eases the way for the care team and patients and families they serve. In 2012, SCC began discussions with NACC leadership regarding chaplain specialty certification for palliative care and hospice. Many NACC chaplains had been called to serve on palliative care interdisciplinary teams, and many already worked in hospice settings. During the past three years the dialogue continued as SCC worked to strengthen the role of the chaplain as a core member of the interdisciplinary palliative care team while fostering and supporting the needed competencies and credentialing of chaplains in palliative care. Executive Director, Tina Picchi, MA, BCC collaborated with NACC in the planning, development and implementation of a specialty certification for hospice and palliative care.

Spirituality in Goals of Care Conversations Project

The Coalition’s Spirituality in Goals of Care Project engaged 20 palliative care teams from six Coalition member organizations – Ascension Health, Bon Secours Health System, OSF HealthCare, Presence Health, Providence Health & Services and SSM Health. This three-phase, 2 1/2-year spirituality project provided a learning community to integrate spirituality into palliative care team practice by implementing new team-based practices in goals of care conversations. The project offered suggested scripting with an emphasis on listening deeply for the patient’s underlying spiritual concerns, as well as building upon their spiritual strengths and resources to inform their goals of care and treatment choices. Teams formed a learning community by attending networking calls and completing evaluations on goals of care conferences throughout the project. Data and learnings were shared. As a conclusion to this project, the Coalition offered a webinar, Integrating Spirituality in Palliative Care Team Practice in February. Approximately 460 webinar participants learned about this model that focuses on whole person care and strengthens inter-professional palliative care team collaboration, self-reflection and spiritual development.  Click here to download the project’s tools.

Some of the Project Participants

Ascension Health's AMITA St. Alexius Medical Center, Hoffman Estates, IL

Ascension Health’s AMITA St. Alexius Medical Center – Hoffman Estates, IL

SSM Health's St. Mary's Janesville Hospital - Janesville, WI

SSM Health’s St. Mary’s Janesville Hospital – Janesville, WI

Providence Health & Services Little Company of Mary Medical Center - Torrance, CA

Providence Health & Services Little Company of Mary Medical Center – Torrance, CA

Presence Health's Mercy Medical Center - Aurora, IL

Presence Health’s Mercy Medical Center – Aurora, IL

Bon Secours Health System's Maryview medical Center - Portsmouth, VA

Bon Secours Health System’s Maryview medical Center – Portsmouth, VA