Towards a national strategy for the provision of spiritual care during major health disasters: A qualitative study
Papadopoulos I., Lazzarino R., Koulouglioti C., Ali S., Wright S.
Background: Spirituality is beneficial to health. Evidence around the benefits of Spiritual care (SC) is advancing, and training is becoming part of healthcare professional development. As the COVID-19 crisis showed, during major health disasters (MHDs), the demand for SC grows exponentially, while the burden of care and focus on preserving life often hamper its provision. Nonetheless, existing health emergency strategic frameworks lack preparedness for the provision of SC. Aim: The aim of this study was to identify the components for a National Strategy (NS) for the provision of SC during MHDs. Methods: Descriptive, cross-sectional, qualitative phenomenological design based on individual, semi-structured e-interviews with nursing managers and National Health Service/volunteer chaplains based in England. Thematic analysis of 25 e-interview data was performed based on a dialogic collaborative process. Results and Discussion: Eleven themes were identified as components of the proposed NS. From these components, specific recommendations for practical actions are provided. An integrated framework approach and smart investments in resources, staff training and technologies should be led by the paradigm of culturally competent and compassionate care. Conclusion: The need to have strategic frameworks, both national and local, that better equip a country healthcare sector to prevent, face, and recover from MHDs is paramount. Catering for the spiritual needs of the affected population should be a key aspect of any health emergency strategy to ensure the preservation of quality care.