National Model for Spiritual Care in Health

A Time for Strength and Support

A hospital stay can be a vulnerable time, filled with uncertainty and existential questions for patients, their families, and even healthcare staff. For many, spirituality serves as a powerful source of strength, comfort, and hope during this challenging experience. It can significantly improve a patient’s hospital stay and even lead to better health outcomes.

The Need for Consistency

Unfortunately, the way spiritual care is delivered in Australian hospitals varies greatly. This inconsistency can lead to a critical gap in care, where patients’ spiritual needs go unnoticed and they lack access to high-quality and safe spiritual support. Research has shown that this lack of consistent care can negatively impact health outcomes, patient experience, and overall healthcare safety.

Building a Better Model

In August 2022, Spiritual Health Association (SHA) took a significant step forward by initiating a collaborative approach to co-design a consistent national model for spiritual care in healthcare. This project, supported by MosaicLab, an independent engagement and facilitation consultancy, involved a diverse range of stakeholders including representatives from SHA, Health Service Leaders, the Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Health Care, and the Faith Community Stakeholders.

We are excited to have designed the first co-designed contemporary model for spiritual care in Australia.

A Groundbreaking Launch

This collaborative effort culminated in a major milestone in June 2023 with the launch of the National Model, followed by a pilot phase of the National Model for Spiritual Care in Health commencing in July. This pilot program involved a total of 21 hospitals and health services across Australia, including a national health service.

Evaluation and Refinement

The National Model Pilot phase is nearing completion, with participating healthcare sites finalising a comprehensive audit and staff survey. This valuable data will be used to assess the model’s impact on spiritual care delivery, staff awareness, and ultimately, patient outcomes. A detailed report is currently being developed to evaluate the model’s effectiveness and identify any areas for improvement. This ensures the model is optimised for broader implementation across all of Australia‚Äôs healthcare system, ultimately benefitting patients, staff, and the overall quality of care provided.

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