Nurses are to be trained to routinely assess the spiritual needs of patients on admission, under new guidance at a trust in Hampshire.
The guidelines, launched last week at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, means all inpatients should be asked about their spiritual needs and referred to a chaplain, if necessary.
The trust stresses that patients do not need to be religious to receive help from a chaplain, who can simply provide a listening ear. Nurses at the trust are to receive specific training developed by chaplains to help them implement the assessments.
The guidance comes in the wake of the high profile case of ‘praying nurse’ Caroline Petrie and a Nursing Times survey carried out last month, which revealed that three-quarters of respondents thought there was not enough advice available to nurses on dealing with religion at work.
Reverend Karen MacKinnon, the trust’s deputy spiritual care manager, said: ‘An internal audit carried out last year showed a large proportion of our nurses were in favour of more training in this area.
‘By taking this new approach to spiritual care, patients and their families will be much clearer on what services we offer and, hopefully, we will prevent or tackle some of the negative mental side affects that are often associated with hospital admissions,’ she added.
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