Making the Case: For Spiritual Care in Palliative Care
According to the National Palliative Care Registry, even as the number of palliative care programs grow, 44% of programs with complete interdisciplinary teams still report only a 0.5 FTE chaplain. Of the 56% of programs without a complete interdisciplinary team, 70% report no chaplain FTE. Forty percent of palliative care teams with a chaplain fund these positions through "in kind" or volunteer staffing models, while the remaining 60% are funded directly through the palliative care budget.
With the great opportunities for growth in palliative care chaplain staffing, the Coalition not only supports spiritual care as an essential component of quality palliative care but also advocates for palliative care chaplain staff positions to provide speciality expertise in the unique spiritual concerns of those living with or affected by serious, advanced illness.
With that in mind, the following clinical practice guidelines provide endorsement for spiritual care as a mandatory component of palliative care, preferably provided by a trained, board-certified chaplain.
- The Joint Commission "Body, Mind, and Spirit, Part 1"
- The Joint Commission "Body, Mind, and Spirit, Part 2"
- NCP Clinical Practice Guidelines 3rd Edition
- Using Chaplains to Facilitate Advance Care Planning in Medical Practice
- UPDATED PALLIATIVE CARE SPIRITUAL ASSESSMENT TOOL
- A Three-Part Special Report from a Conference on the State of the Science of Spirituality and Palliative Care Research
- State of the Science of Spirituality and Palliative Care Research Part I: Definitions, Measurement, and Outcomes (subscription only).
- State of the Science of Spirituality and Palliative Care Research Part II: Screening, Assessment, and Interventions (subscription only).
- State of the Science of Spirituality and Palliative Care Research: Research Landscape and Future Directions (subscription only).
- A 2010 study demonstrating that provision of spiritual care to patients with advanced cancer is associated with improved quality of life
- A 2011 study demonstrating that support of cancer patients' spiritual needs is associated with lower medical care costs at the end of life
- A 2013 study demonstrating that provision of spiritual support to patients with advanced cancer by religious communities is associated with increased medical care at the end of life
- Transforming Chaplaincy: By drawing together leaders in chaplaincy from around the world and numerous healthcare settings, Transforming Chaplaincy is a truly collaborative initiative that seeks to address the needs and concerns of the entire spectrum of spiritual care.