We have been working with the Chaplaincy, Pastoral and Spiritual Support Service team at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with North Central London Cancer Alliance, North East London Cancer Alliance, and South East London Cancer Alliance, on the spiritual aspect of cancer from the patient’s point of view and for staff and volunteers involved with cancer care.
This pan-London project included facilitated workshops for patients, and for staff and volunteers, to provide opportunities for the participants to explore their spirituality and wellbeing.
One of the reasons this project was developed is as a result of patients explaining that they wanted to explore spiritual health and wellbeing and understand how they could make use of this to find inner strength after a cancer diagnosis.
The workshops were filmed and three videos were produced which provide insight into the participants’ experiences and the structured facilitation. These can be used to stimulate discussion among teams about how they might address these issues in their service.
- Exploring Spiritual Wellbeing includes the patient workshop, patient views and experiences. This includes looking at how patients can stay in touch with what matters to them. The video shows patients exploring their experiences and feelings about their cancer diagnosis and treatment, using facilitated tools such as the Map of Meaning to help structure the process.
- Wellbeing and Personal Resilience features the staff and volunteer workshop, which looked at their personal wellbeing and resilience when caring for others. This also looks at how staff can navigate professional relationships with patients at times of vulnerability and distress, and how they can stay compassionate and find meaning in their work when caring for patients in challenging times. Underpinning this workshop was the desire to give opportunities for staff to share and connect with colleagues at a deeper level in order to raise levels of self-awareness and notice how work is impacting upon their pastoral and spiritual wellbeing (including emotional, social and mental health needs).
- Spiritual Wellbeing and Holistic Care explores with staff how to approach spirituality with patients. This includes how to introduce pastoral and spiritual needs assessments as part of holistic cancer care, how they can help patients explore their own meaning, hope and purpose as they go through treatment, what resources are available for support, guidance or signposting, and how to enhance their skills and encourage early discussion with the patient (and family as appropriate) regarding healthcare needs and approaches that address quality of life as a key concern.