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Utility and commissioning of spiritual carers 

Utility and commissioning of spiritual carers
Chapter:
Utility and commissioning of spiritual carers
Author(s):

Lindsay B. Carey

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199571390.003.0054
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date: 19 October 2017

Spiritual care and spiritual carers have formed part of the history of health and wellbeing within most Western healthcare contexts for centuries — particularly through the traditional cleric and chaplaincy professions. It can be argued that the utility of spiritual carers (e.g. as a public service, communication facilitators, being multi-competent, multi-purpose, assisting with patient and family advocacy, plus being of economic worth) brings considerable benefit to healthcare institutions, governments, and the wider community. Given the beneficial utility that spiritual carers can bring to multiple areas within the healthcare context, the commissioning of spiritual carers and the practice of spiritual care, should be taken seriously, affirmed within health policy, plus fully endorsed, and supported by governments and healthcare institutions. The appointment of spiritual carers, and/or those wanting to provide spiritual care (in whatever capacity), should be based upon appropriate tertiary level training and accreditation recognized by both spiritual/religious organizations, plus related professional associations, healthcare institutions and state authorities. Mandatory requirements should be endorsed necessitating tertiary education in spiritual/pastoral care, plus clinical pastoral education (or perhaps ‘clinical spiritual education’) for those wanting to engage in spiritual care — whether professionally or voluntarily. Similar to other healthcare occupations, legislation is also necessary to require professional registration of spiritual carers working within healthcare contexts, to ensure that expert practice and ethical standards are supported and maintained. Subsequently the remuneration of spiritual carers should also be of equal compensation to their allied health peers to help make certain the ongoing utility and holistic provision of professional spiritual care within healthcare facilities.

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