Memorandum by College of Health Care Chaplains
The College of Healthcare Chaplains is the Professional
Body for Healthcare Chaplains and Spiritual caregivers throughout
the United Kingdom. The College has a membership of more than
1,000. It is multi-faith, holds the professional register of Chaplains
and has recently published a revised version of the Code of Conduct
1. The College endorses and supports the
memorandum submitted to the enquiry by the Association of Hospice
and Palliative Care Chaplains.
2. In addition to the comments made by the
Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains the College
of Healthcare Chaplains make the following observations.
3. Although many members of the College
are involved in areas of hospice care, for example, in designated
units, almost all College members are involved in the delivery
of Palliative Care in the acute setting. The involvement of chaplaincy
teams in "Care pathways for the patient during the last days
of life" [the term varies in different areas] is an essential
method of providing for the spiritual needs of the dying patient
in the acute setting.
4. A number of specific issues need to be
resolved in ensuring the delivery of spiritual care within the
acute setting. Existing difficulties which flow from the ongoing
ambiguous understanding of chaplains' access to patient data need
to be resolved.
5. The inconsistency of a Palliative Care
Team in the acute setting including individual chaplains and at
the same time apparently not being able to provide the chaplain
member of the team with patient data needs urgent resolution.
6. In the provision of Palliative Care the
need to address the spiritual concerns of patients is very important.
While the distinction between, and interface of spiritual and
religious needs is an important element in the appropriate provision
of Palliative Care, neither of these should be seen as the same
as cultural needs.
7. Cultural needs of the dying may or may
not be directly linked to the patient's religion and, or, spirituality,
but might also be linked to neither. Cultural needs vary as much
within one religious group [eg Christian] as they do between different
8. The College wishes especially to endorse
the view of the Association of Hospice and Palliative Care chaplains
that education and training need to be supported as the key to
the delivery of spiritual care to those with non-curative conditions
and to dying patients.