Memorandum by AHPCC (PC 9)
The Association of Hospice and Palliative Care
Chaplains (AHPCC) is a national body which represents the work
of chaplainscommitted to multi-faith workingin hospices
and palliative care across the UK. The Association currently has
a membership of nearly 200. In 2003 the Association published
Standards for Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplaincy in association
with Help the Hospices. The Association has also produced guidelines
for the employment of chaplains within hospices and palliative
care units and is committed to upholding Marie Curie Cancer Care:
Spiritual and Religious Care Competencies for Specialist Palliative
Care published in 2003.
1. In accordance with the World Health Organisation's
definition of Palliative Care it is essential to have an understanding
of Spiritual Care which incorporates whatever gives a person's
life meaning. In this context the provision, location, timeliness
of palliative care as well as caring for people at home needs
to incorporate how people are cared for spiritually in living
with a terminal illness which requires palliative care.
2. Establishing equity of service to people
by geography as well as of age needs to ensure that services are
fully available to people of all faiths and spiritual beliefs.
3. Issues of communication between clinicians
and patients in regard to patient and family wishes and the acknowledgement
of cultural and spiritual beliefs is best addressed by training
and management. The honouring of culture and beliefs of patients,
family and staff will be largely dependent upon the ethos and
management of each institution.
4. Domiciliary support and personal care
needs to take account of patient and carer wishes in regard to
be being able to fulfil cultural needs otherwise patients and
carers may feel awkward in asking for what they require.
5. The governance, standards and links to
NHS services in regard to spiritual care can be established within
the framework of nationally held chaplaincy standards which also
reflect the NHS policy set out in Essence of Care. These can be
audited using the framework provided particularly in areas of
privacy and dignity. Research into the provision and delivery
of spiritual care is essential as a support to governance and
6. The training and retention of staff needs
to include how they respond to looking after people who are dying
and how this relates to their own emotional and spiritual well
7. Spiritual Care is addressed in the National
Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommendations. This
needs to be translated to enable staff at all levels to address
the spiritual needs of patients and carers and as to how chaplains/spiritual
care providers can address the needs of staff and the whole organisation
in order to fulfil the WHO definition for palliative care.