Wasner, Maria; Longaker, Christine; Fegg, Martin Johannes; Borasio, Gian Domenico
Effects of spiritual care training for palliative care professionals.
In: Palliative Medicine, Vol. 19, No. 2: pp. 99-104
Little is known about the effects of spiritual care training for professionals in palliative medicine. We therefore investigated prospectively the effects of such training over a six-month period. All 63 participants of the three and a half-day training were asked to fill out three questionnaires: before and after the training, as well as six months later. The questionnaires included demographic data, numeric rating scales about general attitudes towards the work in palliative care, the Self-Transcendence Scale (STS), the spiritual subscale of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT-Sp) and the Idler Index of Religiosity (IIR). Forty-eight participants (76) completed all three questionnaires (91 women, median age 49 years; 51 nurses, 16 hospice volunteers, 14 physicians).Significant and sustained improvements were found in self-perceived compassion for the dying (after the training: P =0.002; 6 months later: P=0.025), compassion for oneself (P < 0.001; P =0.013), attitude towards one's family (P =0.001; P =0.031), satisfaction with work (P < 0.001; P =0.039), reduction in work-related stress (P < 0.001; P =0.033), and attitude towards colleagues (P =0.039; P =0.040), as well as in the FACIT-Sp (P < 0.001; P =0.040). Our results suggest that the spiritual care training had a positive influence on the spiritual well-being and the attitudes of the participating palliative care professionals which was preserved over a six-month period.