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Gratz, Margit; Paal, Piret; Emmelmann, Moritz; Roser, Traugott (2016): Spiritual care in the training of hospice volunteers in Germany. In: Palliative & Supportive Care, Vol. 14, No. 5: pp. 532-540
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Abstract

Objective: Hospice volunteers often encounter questions related to spirituality. It is unknown whether spiritual care receives a corresponding level of attention in their training. Our survey investigated the current practice of spiritual care training in Germany. Method: An online survey sent to 1,332 hospice homecare services for adults in Germany was conducted during the summer of 2012. We employed the SPSS 21 software package for statistical evaluation. Results: All training programs included self-reflection on personal spirituality as obligatory. The definitions of spirituality used in programs differ considerably. The task of defining training objectives is randomly delegated to a supervisor, a trainer, or to the governing organization. More than half the institutions work in conjunction with an external trainer. These external trainers frequently have professional backgrounds in pastoral care/theology and/or in hospice/palliative care. While spiritual care receives great attention, the specific tasks it entails are rarely discussed. The response rate for our study was 25.0% (n = 332). Significance of results: A need exists to develop training concepts that outline distinct contents, methods, and objectives. A prospective curriculum would have to provide assistance in the development of training programs. Moreover, it would need to be adaptable to the various concepts of spiritual care employed by the respective institutions and their hospice volunteers.