Launched! The Future of Spiritual Care in Australia report

On 18th May 2022 we launched our much-anticipated research report The Future of Spiritual Care in Australia: A national study on spirituality, wellbeing and spiritual care in hospitals. 

The online event was hosted by SHA Chairman of the Board Luke Bowen and Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Georgina Nicholson gave our Welcome to Country.

The report was officially launched by Associate Professor Amanda Walker, Clinical Director at the Australian Commission for Safety & Quality in Health Care, and a specialist in Palliative Medicine in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Amanda gave an engaging presentation and introduced our short film Collective Voice, which includes testimonials from the report.

SHA’s CEO Cheryl Holmes also presented and states “We did this study because we want to make sure that the spiritual care we are advocating for, is spiritual care that is fit for purpose in the Australian context. We know that Australia is a culturally and spiritually diverse nation, and the way we talk about spirituality and spiritual care needs to use language that is meaningful to people”.

In 2021, Spiritual Health Association engaged research and communications specialists McCrindle to conduct Australian research into how Australians communicate about spirituality, their experiences of spiritual care and their thoughts about spiritual care in health. 

Key to this research is understanding the role of care in the hospitals of the future, knowing what planning and training is required for the future workforce and the overall benefits of spirituality to individuals, societies and organisations.

The findings of this report will be used to educate the public about the connection between spirituality, health and wellbeing, and the role of spiritual care within hospital settings. 

View the short video Collective Voice with testimonials from the report on our YouTube channel.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for daily content from the report, and updates on twitter and LinkedIn.

The Future of Spiritual Care in Australia report – Key Findings

1. Australia is a culturally and spiritually diverse nation. 

Survey participants currently identify with or practice:

  • Christianity – Catholic/ Orthodox (26.1%)
  • Christianity – Protestant/ Evangelical (18.4%)
  • Islam (2.8%)
  • Buddhism (2.7%)
  • Hindusim (1.8%)
  • Other (1.9%)
  • Judaism (0.5%)
  • No religion or spiritual belief (32.5%)
  • Have spiritual beliefs, but do not identify with any main religion (13.4%)

2. Spirituality has an evolving meaning

Australians consider a range of experiences to be spiritual, and feel extremely or very connected to:

  • Nature (53%) 
  • Humanity as a whole (40%) 
  • The universe (37%) 
  • A higher power (34%) 

3. Spirituality is essential to wellbeing

Australians feel that spirituality is connected to:

  • Mental wellbeing (55%)
  • Relational wellbeing (43%)
  • Physical wellbeing (41%)

4. Spiritual care supports the things that give meaning to a person’s life

Australians desire avenues for holistic care in hospitals, and stated that spiritual care helped them to feel:

  • More confident about their treatment process (85%)
  • Supported by others who listened to their hopes and fears (84%)
  • Comforted by their religious or spiritual beliefs (82%)

5. Australians have a desire for spiritual care 

  • 77% believe that spiritual care should be offered in private hospitals
  • 75% believe that spiritual care should be offered in public hospitals
  • 65% of Australians have had extremely positive/ very positive experiences with spiritual care
  • 54% of Australians would be interested in receiving spiritual care in the future