What is it about?

This opinion piece explores the importance of attention to spiritual needs in good clinical care. Distinguishes spirituality from religion and associates it with people's sense of meaning and purpose in life as an essential focus for person-centred holistic care

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Why is it important?

There is an increasing interest in the relational non-technical aspects of care and their impact on outcomes. We explore the somewhat misunderstood concept of the role of spirituality in holistic care using our concept of Spiritually Competent Practice which emphasises not only competencies but also personal qualities of compassionate engagement and the need for an operational environment that facilitates person-centred care rather than using an industrialised model. We explore the relevant requirements of regulatory bodies which make this an area of increasing priority.


My personal perspective stems from a long-standing interest in the relational, person-centred aspects of practice and working with the whole person in an 'I-thou' rather than an 'I-it' relationship (Buber 1923)

John Wattis
University of Huddersfield

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This page is a summary of: The importance of spirituality in caring for patients, British Journal of Hospital Medicine, September 2016, Mark Allen Group, DOI: 10.12968/hmed.2016.77.9.500.
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