Supportive Care in Cancer vol:21 issue:4 pages:1061-1069
PURPOSE: Spiritual care at the end of life remains poorly understood, despite its promotion by the World Health Organisation. The purpose of this paper is to develop a consensus based framework of the main elements of spiritual care in palliative home care.
METHODS: Expert meeting using the Nominal Group Technique, followed by a two-stage web-based Delphi process. Experts from three stakeholder groups (physicians, professional spiritual care givers and researchers) representing two countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) participated in this study.
RESULTS: 14 elements of spiritual care were retained: (1) being sensitive to patient’s fear of the dying process, (2) listening to the patient’s expectations and wishes about the end of life, (3) giving attention to patient’s wishes about the design of the farewell, (4) offering rituals if the patient experiences them as meaningful, (5) listening to the stories, dreams, and passions of the patient, (6) helping the patient to find strength in inner resources, (7) connecting with the patient in truth, openness and honesty, (8) supporting communication and quality of relationships, (9) making sure the patient feels comfortable and safe, (10) seeing spirituality as an interwoven, though specific dimension, (11) caring for your own spirituality, (12) knowing and accepting your vulnerability, (13) being able to learn from your patient, and (14) having an interdisciplinary team that’s there when needed.
CONCLUSIONS: The experts agreed to 14 main elements of spiritual care in palliative home care. There were no differences in this regard between the stakeholder groups. This study provides a first step towards the development of an interdisciplinary spiritual care model in palliative home care.