In February 2009, GWish partnered with the City of Hope and the Archstone Foundation to develop practical tools and recommendations for the integration of spirituality as an essential element of palliative care. Over forty experts in palliative and spiritual care met to review the state-of-the-art in spirituality and health and develop guidelines for healthcare professionals and institutions to ensure that spirituality is fully integrated into the care of patients nationally. This project builds upon the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care (NCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care and National Quality Forum (NQF) National Framework and Preferred Practices for Palliative and Hospice Care Quality.
The recommendations were published in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine (PDF). A larger more detailed version of this document will be published by The Templeton Press in February 2010. Part of this project is to highlight resources in spiritual care for healthcare professionals as well as patients and families. Those resources will be collected and shared through SOERCE: The Spirituality and Health Online Education and Resource Center.
We would also like to emphasize that while we focused on palliative care, the recommendations are applicable to health care in general. Palliative care begins from the time a patient is diagnosed with an illness and not just when the care of a patient focused on active end of life issues. Thus, palliative care can span many years of a patient's life and is applicable to people with chronic illnesses.
This work has been sponsored by the Archstone Foundation and brings together the thoughts and contributions of many individuals who contributed their support, experience, and comments.