I work as a hospital chaplain. During my clinical pastoral education residency I did a specialty residency looking at research into the impact of spiritual care on the patient experience, patient outcomes and healthcare cost. I was a little surprised to find that there is a wealth of research done on the impact of spirituality on patient care and general well-being. This section of my website is dedicated to making that research, and other information about spiritual care, available to the larger world.
As I completed my residency I put together a presentation that summarizes the research I found as well as makes some other statements about professional spiritual care and its use in healthcare. I also prepared a matrix of the research I examined, a reference document for those who want more details, and of course, kept a bibliography.
Something that I want to start off with stating immediately; spiritual care is not the same as religion. A professional spiritual care presence is not the same as clergy of any particular faith and it is not related to religion. It is related to human spirituality, our sense of connection, meaning and purpose. For some that may relate to their religion, but not for everyone. Professional spiritual care is about helping people find and use their own sense of connection, meaning and purpose.
In an age where healthcare is changing, sometimes frustrating, and often complicated, I believe that we need to keep our spirit, heart and soul in taking care of one-another when we are at our most vulnerable. Healthcare today struggles with a lot of challenges; I think that spiritual care is about nurturing and supporting patients, staff and the entire healthcare system by finding meaning and purpose.