The spiritual care team: Enabling the practice of whole person medicine
© 2014 by the author; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. We will soon be piloting a project titled “Integrating Spirituality into Patient Care” that will form “spiritual care teams” to assess and address patients’ spiritual needs in physician outpatient practices within Adventist Health System, the largest Protestant healthcare system in the United States. This paper describes the goals, the rationale, and the structure of the spiritual care teams that will soon be implemented, and discusses the barriers to providing spiritual care that health professionals are likely to encounter. Spiritual care teams may operate in an outpatient or an inpatient setting, and their purpose is to provide health professionals with resources necessary to practice whole person healthcare that includes spiritual care. We believe that this project will serve as a model for faith-based health systems seeking to visibly demonstrate their mission in a way that makes them unique and expresses their values. Not only does this model have the potential to be cost-effective, but also the capacity to increase the quality of patient care and the satisfaction that health professionals derive from providing care. If successful, this model could spread beyond faith-based systems to secular systems as well both in the U.S. and worldwide.
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