Spiritual care training in healthcare: Does it really have an impact?
Objective. Spiritual care has formed an integral part of palliative care since its inception. People with advanced illnesses, however, frequently report that their spiritual needs are not attended to by their medical care team. The present study examines and describes the impact of a spiritual care training program on practice and cultural change in our Canadian hospice. Method. A qualitative case study approach was adopted to gather feedback from hospice staff and volunteers using purposive sampling. In-depth interviews were conducted, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic (semantic and latent) analysis. Result. Our data suggest that the program had a profound personal impact on attendees and contributed to a slight shift in practice patterns in our organization. Using a program not specifically tailored to our local and organizational cultural contexts resulted in some unanticipated challenges such as the range of tensions between personal and cultural boundaries. Although some people criticized parts of the program or questioned the program’s value, a general agreement suggests that the program had a positive impact and meaningfully benefited our hospice. “What will happen next?” was the question most frequently voiced by interviewees. Significance of results. Although the program may not have been a perfect fit for our organization, its use instigated a process of cultural change that unfolds today. The present study suggests that a systematic approach to spiritual care training that includes the concepts of workplace spirituality and sensitive practice offer useful frameworks for the development and implementation of spiritual care training in other institutions.