Stakeholder views on the role of spiritual care in Australian hospitals: An exploratory study Academic Article uri icon


  • Research increasingly demonstrates the contribution of spiritual care to patient experience, wellbeing and health outcomes. Responsiveness to spiritual needs is recognised as a legitimate component of quality health care. Yet there is no consistent approach to the models and governance of spiritual care across hospitals in Australia. This is consistent with the situation in other developed countries where there is increased attention to identifying best practice models for spiritual care in health. This study explores the views of stakeholders in Australian hospitals to the role of spiritual care in hospitals. A self-completion questionnaire comprising open and closed questions was distributed using a snowball sampling process. Analysis of 477 complete questionnaires indicated high levels of agreement with ten policy statements and six policy objectives. Perceived barriers to spiritual care related to: terminology and roles, education and training, resources, and models of care. Responses identified the issues to inform a national policy agenda including attention to governance and policy structures and clear delineation of roles and scope of practice with aligned education and training models. The inclusion of spiritual care as a significant pathway for the provision of patient-centred care is noted. Further exploration of the contribution of spiritual care to wellbeing, health outcomes and patient experience is invited.

publication date

  • 2018