Research

Spiritual Health Association provides leadership and support in the development of a research agenda for the sector through supervision, promotion and coordination of study projects. Our combined efforts play a key role in the following processes:

  • Identifying and implementing best practice guidelines which are supported by evidence.
  • Identifying the most appropriate skills and education levels for the credentialling of practitioners who provide this best practice spiritual care.
  • Developing reliable data collecting systems that reflect the real work done by spiritual care practitioners and so facilitate the adequate provision of human resources.

Spiritual Health Association collaborates with the following stakeholders in our quality health research initiatives:

  • Spiritual care coordinators
  • Other peak bodies 
  • Universities
  • International Joint Research Council of the Association of Professional Chaplains (USA)
  • Transforming Chaplaincy - USA
  • European Research Institute for Chaplains in Healthcare
  • European Association for Palliative Care - Spiritual Care Research Group

We also contribute to the education of spiritual care practitioners – highlighting the importance and processes of effective, quality health research. This includes encouraging collaboration between different sites within the sector to enable standard data recording processes, so that results can be compared and combined to produce more reliable outcomes.

Please take advantage of the large number of resources and journals on quality health research within the spiritual care sector, or get in touch with us for more information.

For more information contact Heather Tan


Current Research Projects

Faith Community Research: Faith Affiliation and Preferences of Patients in Hospitals

A research project in collaboration with La Trobe University and five hospital sites to ascertain the spiritual care preferences of patients with a faith affiliation.

This study follows on from a scoping review undertaken in 2018 that developed a proposal to investigate the proportion of Victorian hospital patients who are affiliated with a specific faith and their preferences for spiritual care. A State-wide survey in 2019 provided information on the proportion of patients who identify with specific faith affiliations.  

The current phase of this project involves checking faith affiliation against the patients’ hospital record and getting a better understanding of patient preference for engagement. How many of those who claim a particular faith affiliation wish to receive spiritual care from someone of the same affiliation? The study will also investigate the attributes of spiritual carers that are important to patients. 

Joint Research Project with La Trobe University – Investigating the provision of spiritual care in health care facilities from staff and patient perspectives

Phase 1: 

Part A:  Attitudes and Understandings of Patients and Family Members Regarding Spiritual Care in Hospital – Semi-structured interviews at one site – completed.

Publication: Gardner, f., Tan, H., Rumbold, B. (2018). What Spirituality Means for Patients and Families in Health Care. Journal of Religion and Health.                 http://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-018-0716-x

Part B: Attitudes and Understandings of staff across the healthcare organisation about spiritual care and its provision at their facility – semi-structured interviews across three sites – completed.

Publications:
Tan, H., Rumbold, B., Gardner, F., Glenister, D., Forrest, A., Bowen, L. How is Spiritual Care/Pastoral Care understood and provided in general hospitals in Victoria Australia? Staff Perspectives. Journal for the Study of Spirituality. (in press).

Phase 2:

Investigating the patient reported outcomes of spiritual care provided to in patients. The study utilised the Scottish Patient Reported Outcome Measure, as well as gathering data about patient experience of receiving spiritual care – completed.

Publications:

  1. Tan, H., Rumbold, B., Gardner, F., Glenister, D., Forrest, A., Bossie, C., Wyles, L. Understanding the Outcomes of Spiritual Care as Experienced by Patients. (under review).  
  2. Karimi, L. & Tan, H. (2019) . Validation of The Patient Reported Outcome Measure of Spiritual Care (PROM) in an Australian Setting. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. (under review)


Phase 3:

This phase is providing the opportunity for individual sites to further investigate an aspect of spiritual care provided at their site which has been identified in phases 1 and 2, as needing further development.  This is still in the planning stage so watch this space in the coming months.

The Narratives Shaping Spiritual Care in Victorian Public Hospitals

A current PhD project by Cheryl Holmes to identify and explore the influences that have shaped the development of spiritual care in Victorian public hospitals. The PhD is being completed through publications and several of the articles are included in the list below.

 

Articles

Stakeholder views on the role of spiritual care in Australian hospitals: an exploratory study

Author: Cheryl Holmes, Spiritual Health Association CEO. 

Journal: Health Policy

Abstract: This article presents and discusses the results of the national survey conducted in 2016-2017 in preparation for the National Consensus Conference held in June 2017. 

Contact: Cheryl Holmes

Click to download


Towards National Consensus: Spiritual Care in the Australian Healthcare Context

Author: Cheryl Holmes, Spiritual Health Association CEO

Journal: Religions (2018), 9, 379

Abstract: This article presents the outcomes from the National Consensus Conference Enhancing Quality and Safety: Spiritual Care in Health held in June 2017. Five principles for the design and delivery of spiritual care services and ten policy statements are presented. 

Contact: Cheryl Holmes

Click to download


Is there a role for faith communities in the provision of spiritual care in health?

Author: Cheryl Holmes

Journal: Ethics, Medicine and Public Health, (2019) Volume 9, April–June, 7-11.

Abstract: This article explores the role of faith communities in health care in the context of the changing demographics in Australia and the increasing numbers of people who nominate that they have no religious affiliation. It seeks to raise questions and to reflect on the changing models of spiritual care needed to meet the needs of current and future populations. 

Contact: Cheryl Holmes

Click to download


Frames for the Future: Developing Continuing Education and Professional Development Programs for Spiritual Care Practitioners: A Perspective from Victoria Australia.

Author: Shinen Wong and Heather Tan

Journal: The Journal of Pastoral Care and Counselling (2017) 7 (4), 237-256.

Abstract: This article examines the educational issues in ongoing professional education for spiritual care practitioners.  A meta-evaluation data over four years (2013-2016) of one such monthly program conducted by Spiritual Health Association was examined.   

Recommendations are made to support healthcare managers and spiritual care educators in designing and developing continuing education programs for spiritual care practitioners in a variety of other professional health and care contexts.

Contact: Heather Tan

Click to download


Building Capacity for Spiritual Care and Wellbeing in the Mental Health Workforce

Author: Jenny Greenham and Cheryl Holmes

Journal: Newparadigm, The Australian Journal on Psychosocial Rehabilitation (2017) Summer, 11-15

Abstract: This article describes the implementation and evaluation of a training program developed by Jenny for Spiritual Health Association and delivered to mental health workers in Gippsland. The East Gippsland Mental Health Initiative aimed to build the capacity of mental health workers to respond to the spiritual needs of their clients/patients. Its results, supported by other studies, show that workers can benefit from training in the area of spirituality and spiritual care, and that this could provide positive outcomes for clients/patients.

Contact: Jenny Greenham

Click to download


Review of Literature June 2015

Author: Michelle Morgan & Cheryl Holmes

Abstract: This document records a literature review undertaken in 2015 to assist us in the development of the collaborative research project with La Trobe University and six different healthcare facilities. The main topics reviewed are.   

  • What do Spiritual Care Practitioners do? 
  • How is spiritual health measured? 
  • What are the outcomes of spiritual care? 
  • Spiritual care - a team approach 
  • How do spiritual care staff report their activities? 

The outcomes of the search of data in the period 2005-2015, over a broad range of data bases, has been divided into the above topics for easy access and where available, abstracts of relevant articles are recorded in tables in the appendices.

Contact: Cheryl Holmes

Click to download