Addressing the Spiritual Care Needs of Patients with Serious Illness

Spiritual care contributes to the well-being of patients and the people who matter to them, by addressing spiritual and existential pain. Though not all patients are affiliated with formal religious structures and systems, many still struggle with questions about miracles, spiritual etiologies of disease, and how to make meaning out of suffering.

Chaplains provide expert interventions to explore these areas and bring meaning and healing - for patients, for the people who matter to them, and for the palliative care team.

This toolkit provides online courses and tools for spiritual care providers to meet the needs of patients with serious illness. Leaders will find information about integrating professional spiritual care into their palliative care programs.

What’s in the Toolkit

Research and tools on the impact and implementation of professional spiritual care, in general and specifically within palliative care.

National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, 4th edition

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

The National Consensus Project (NCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines are the national standard for high quality palliative care. National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, 2018.

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Honoring the Spiritual Dimension of Palliative Care

Last Updated: November 7, 2019

From the Supportive Care Coalition. A practical model for interdisciplinary palliative care clinicians to attend to the spiritual concerns of patients.

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The Impact of Professional Spiritual Care

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

An interactive document about current research, trends, and the importance of access to professional spiritual care.

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Living on a Prayer: Responding to Families who are Waiting for a Miracle

Last Updated: March 4, 2019

Presented by: Rev. Erica Richmond, M.Div, MA and Ross Howard Albert, MD, FAAFP, March 2018. Presenters share the various ways spiritual care can help all members of the interdisciplinary team navigate sensitive conversations with patients living with a serious illness.

State of the Science of Spirituality and Palliative Care Research Part I: Definitions, Measurement, and Outcomes

Last Updated: November 7, 2019

1) What is spirituality? 2) What methodological and measurement issues are most salient for research in palliative care? And 3) What is the evidence relating spirituality and health outcomes?

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State of the Science of Spirituality and Palliative Care Research Part II: Screening, Assessment, and Interventions

Last Updated: November 7, 2019

1) How do we assess spirituality? 2) How do we intervene on spirituality in palliative care? And 3) How do we train health professionals to address spirituality in palliative care?

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I Don't Know What It Is You Do: The Role and Scope of the Chaplain on the Palliative Care Team

Last Updated: August 11, 2019

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Hoping for a Miracle? Chaplain Roles with Patients, Families and the Interdisciplinary Team

Last Updated: February 14, 2020

Talk given by Denise Hess, MDiv, BCC-PCHAC (Executive director of the Supportive Care Coalition) for the Association for Professional Chaplains.

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Evidence Base

Last Updated: February 3, 2019

Key publications on palliative care's impact on quality and costs.

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Tools for spiritual care providers working within palliative care teams.

About Palliative Care

Last Updated: November 5, 2019

Definition of palliative care and how it improves quality of life for patients living with a serious illness, and their families.

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Chaplain Certification - Palliative Care and Hospice Advanced Certification (APC)

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

Certification in hospice and palliative care is available through the the Association for Professional Chaplains (APC)

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Family Meeting Preparation

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

Structured tool for coordinating the palliative care team before a family meeting. Shared by MemorialCare.

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Family Meeting Preparation

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

Structured tool for coordinating the Palliative Care team before a family meeting. Shared by Mount Sinai Hospital.

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Searching for a Compass: A Role for Spiritual Constructs for the IDT Workflow When the Course Isn’t Clear

Last Updated: January 6, 2020

Presented by Rabbi Edith Meyerson, DMin, BCC and Rachel May Adams, MD, June 2019. Palliative care teams are frequently called upon when primary teams are stuck and in need of guidance. Many consults involve multiple layers of uncertainty caused by medical complexity, unknown prognoses, confusing emotions, conflicting goals, and more. For clinicians, patients, and families, uncertainty can be paralyzing, and attempts to move forward can be hindered for emotional and logistical reasons. So, what happens when we try to help stuck people, and then become stuck ourselves? Having a sense of groundedness, even in the midst of the uncertainty, can help palliative care teams find a way through the log jam.

Honoring Thy Parent(s): Applying the Spiritual Domain in Palliative Care Decision-Making

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

A spiritual framework to utilize the Honor Commandment in palliative care decision-making.

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"Spiritual Care: Whose Job Is it Anyway?"

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

The roles of spiritual care specialists and physicians in addressing the spiritual needs of seriously ill patients. Southern Medical Journal, December 2004.

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Building and Supporting Effective Palliative Care Teams

Last Updated: March 4, 2019

Hire and onboard your staff, manage program operations, and ensure a healthy high-functioning team using this toolkit.

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Strategies for Maximizing the Health/Wellness of Palliative Care Teams

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Monograph on processes that promote team health. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2014.

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Communication Phrases in Palliative Care

Last Updated: January 29, 2019

Phrases to use when talking to members/patients and their families about prognosis, advance planning, and quality of life.

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Bring it to the Table- Facilitator's Guide

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

An interdisciplinary team case discussion model for facilitators.

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Bring it to the Table- Participant's Guide

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

An interdisciplinary team case discussion model for participants.

California State University- Shiley Institute for Palliative Care

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

Online courses for palliative care chaplaincy. California State University.

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Communication tools and tips to address spiritual distress and goals of care.

VitalTalk Communication

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

Resources from VitalTalk's library of communication tools and techniques.

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REMAP

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

Structured VitalTalk conversation map for late goals of care conversations.

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10 Stages of Conversation from the Supportive Care Coalition

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

Tool for goals of care conversations that include spirituality.

AMEN Protocol

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

Supporting patients and families that are hoping for a miracle. American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2014.

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Standardized spiritual screening and assessment tools.

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Psychosocial Spiritual Assessment: Sample Tool

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

Sample: Structured tool for assessing spiritual distress and common interventions.

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Spiritual Care Assessment: Sample Tool

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

Sample: Structured tool for assessing spiritual distress and common interventions.

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Spirituality and medical practice: using the HOPE questions as a practical tool for spiritual assessment

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

Sample: Structured tool for assessing spiritual distress and common interventions.

Spiritual Screening Tool

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

Assessment for suffering, distress, disconnection, or spiritual pain. Supportive Care Coalition.

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Development of the PC-7, a Quantifiable Assessment of Spiritual Concerns of Patients Receiving Palliative Care Near the End of Life

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

Sample: Structured tool for assessing spiritual distress and common interventions.

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Assessing Emotional, Psychiatric, Spiritual, and Familial Pain

Last Updated: November 18, 2019

Sample assessments for emotional pain, psychiatric pain, spiritual pain, and familial pain. Implementation Guide excerpts shared by The Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm/Avila Institute of Gerontology’s Palliative Care.

Sample job descriptions, interview questions, and other tools for hiring and supporting professional chaplains within palliative care programs.

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Interview Questions

Last Updated: November 7, 2019

Sample interview questions when hiring a chaplain.

Competencies of the Certified Palliative Care & Hospice Chaplain (BCCi)

Last Updated: November 7, 2019

From the Board of Chaplaincy Certification, Inc, affiliate of the Association of Professional Chaplains.

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Chaplain Job Description

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

Shared by University of California San Francisco.

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Chaplain Role and Responsibilities

Last Updated: November 11, 2019

Serves as a guide in programs where the chaplain is structurally employed by the Spiritual Care department and dedicated to the Palliative Care program.

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Interprofessional Palliative Care Skills

Last Updated: November 22, 2019

Basic knowledge and competencies for all dedicated Palliative Care team members. Shared by MemorialCare.

Resources to help chaplains discuss their patients’ goals and values for purposes of advance care planning.

Helpful Phrases for POLST Conversations

Last Updated: February 14, 2020

Conversation prompts and phrases to avoid in POLST advance care planning discussions. Materials used with permission from the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, CoalitionCCC.org.

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POLST Conversation Script

Last Updated: February 14, 2020

Detailed conversation guide to improve health care professionals' comfort levels having POLST conversations. Materials used with permission from the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, CoalitionCCC.org.

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Advance Care Planning Conversations

Last Updated: November 12, 2015

How to initiate and conduct conversations about advance care planning.

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Building Physician Skills in Basic Advance Care Planning

Last Updated: February 18, 2020

Building Physician Skills in Basic Advance Care Planning, includes three courses intended to build person-centered advance care planning (ACP) skills for physicians and advanced practitioners.

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Faculty

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