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

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.

Honoring the Spiritual Dimension of Palliative Care

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

The Impact of Professional Spiritual Care

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

Evidence for Spiritual Care in Health Care

Hall, E., Hughes, B. P., & Handzo, G. (2019). Time to follow the evidence–Spiritual care in health care. Ethics, Medicine and Public Health, 9, 45-56.

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

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?

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

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?

I Don't Know What It Is You Do: The Role and Scope of the Chaplain on the Palliative Care Team
Hoping for a Miracle? Chaplain Roles with Patients, Families and the Interdisciplinary Team

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

Evidence Base

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

Chaplaincy & Patient Satisfaction

Marin DB, Sharma V, Sosunov E, Egorova N, Goldstein R, Handzo G. 2015. The relationship between chaplain visits and patient satisfaction. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy. 21 (1):14-24.

Relationship of Spiritual Needs to Patient Satisfaction

Astrow, A. B., Kwok, G., Sharma, R. K., Fromer, N., & Sulmasy, D. P. (2018). Spiritual Needs and Perception of Quality of Care and Satisfaction With Care in Hematology/Medical Oncology Patients: A Multicultural Assessment. J Pain Symptom Manage, 55(1), 56-64 e51. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.08.009

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

Interview Questions
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Sample interview questions when hiring a chaplain.

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

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

Chaplain Job Description
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Shared by University of California San Francisco.

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

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

Tools for spiritual care providers working within palliative care teams.

About Palliative Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building and Supporting Effective Palliative Care Teams

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

Strategies for Maximizing the Health/Wellness of Palliative Care Teams

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

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

Bring it to the Table- Facilitator's Guide
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An interdisciplinary team case discussion model for facilitators.

Bring it to the Table- Participant's Guide
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An interdisciplinary team case discussion model for participants.

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

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

California State University- Shiley Institute for Palliative Care

Online courses for palliative care chaplaincy. California State University.

MS in Palliative Care

MS in Palliative Care. University of Maryland Interdisciplinary Training

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

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

Chaplain Certification - Advanced Pratice Certification in Hospice & Palliative Care (SCA)

Certification in hospice & palliative care.

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

Helpful Phrases for POLST Conversations

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.

POLST Conversation Script

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.

Advance Care Planning Conversations

How to initiate and conduct conversations about advance care planning.

Building Physician Skills in Basic Advance Care Planning

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.

Use of Chaplains in Advance Care Planning

Lee, A. C., McGinness, C. E., Levine, S., O'Mahony, S., & Fitchett, G. (2018). Using Chaplains to Facilitate Advance Care Planning in Medical Practice. JAMA Intern Med, 178(5), 708-710. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.7961

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

VitalTalk Communication

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

REMAP

Structured VitalTalk conversation map for late goals of care conversations.

10 Stages of Conversation from the Supportive Care Coalition
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Tool for goals of care conversations that include spirituality.

AMEN Protocol

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

Standardized spiritual screening and assessment tools.

Spiritual Screening Tool

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

Screening Tool Comparison Study

King, S. D., Fitchett, G., Murphy, P. E., Pargament, K. I., Harrison, D. A., & Loggers, E. T. (2017). Determining best methods to screen for religious/spiritual distress. Supportive Care in Cancer, 25(2), 471-479.

Spirituality and Medical Practice: Using the HOPE Questions as a Practical Tool for Spiritual Assessment

Sample: Structured tool for assessing spiritual distress and common interventions

Assessing Emotional, Psychiatric, Spiritual, and Familial Pain
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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.

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

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

Psychosocial Spiritual Assessment: Sample Tool
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Sample: Structured tool for assessing spiritual distress and common interventions.

Spiritual Care Assessment: Sample Tool
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Sample: Structured tool for assessing spiritual distress and common interventions.

Spirituality and Medical Practice: Using the HOPE Questions as a Practical Tool for Spiritual Assessment

Sample: Structured tool for assessing spiritual distress and common interventions

Assessing Emotional, Psychiatric, Spiritual, and Familial Pain
MEMBERS ONLY locked

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.

Spiritual AIM Assessment Tool

Shields, M., Kestenbaum, A., & Dunn, L. B. (2015). Spiritual AIM and the work of the chaplain: A model for assessing spiritual needs and outcomes in relationship. Palliative & supportive care, 13(1), 75-89.

Faculty