Havens Hospice Spiritual Care ‘Blog’

Martin Hill – Spiritual Care Lead for Havens Hospices.

When people come to the word Spirituality, just as with Religion, there is often an assumption that accompanies us. Spirituality needs to be a thing, just as Religion is a thing. Either we see ourselves as part of the thing or we observe the thing as something others do.

In our hospice, Spiritual, and therefore Spirituality, is a part of our model of care. We follow the holistic model in which Physical, Psychological, Social and Spiritual hold equal sway. We do this because approaching the whole person is our holistic care. The impact of chronic illness and subsequent end of life journey is not simply about the course of the illness, its treatment, how it impacts us in our thinking and our daily life but also about how we identify ourselves and express our own sense of worth and our world view. In all these it is about our family and personal relationships. About our place in the world and, should that be a part of the narrative for the person, the world to come.

Belief in a God or gods isn’t necessary, nor is any religious view, being a human person is enough and no-one will tell you other. Making the journey with Havens Hospices means that you, your culture and your beliefs are respected and supported. Whether you hold to deeply held and essential practices, have a nominal faith in which you require appropriate connection or no religious or spiritual belief but a personal and valued sense of identity in which you wish accompaniment, Spiritual Care will support you in this without question. We don’t need to share your beliefs, understand your ways or know you fully in order to be supportive of you as a human being. Spiritual Care is also not about the ‘doing’ but the ‘being’. Being present for the people who feel that Spiritual Care has a value for them. Offering companionship throughout the palliative path and at end of life with the desire to see the human being, and their life, uplifted, celebrated and valued.

Any and every human person is important in our Spiritual Care. The most vulnerable and needy of people are to be seen as equal to the highest and most accomplished. Love of our fellow human beings motivates our Spiritual Care. Placing the person above their prognosis or condition. From full on engagement and support to achieve wishes for rites and ritual to sitting with a person who is actively dying is all part of what we do. Care of the human spirit is in the attitude and actions of all our staff in whatever role they serve but Spiritual Care is offered as a significant intervention, should it be wished, by staff and volunteers who meet patient and family members where they are in life without any conditions or agenda. Being there for the human being and placing the views of others before our own. Only giving what is wished as it is wished and focussing on the life of the patient and/or their family to support them in their own wishes and needs.

So maybe you made the assumption that Spirituality is a thing that other people do before reading this blog, maybe you thought that you need to be Religious in some way, but hopefully my response here has allowed you to feel different. At Havens Hospices you will receive equal respect, consideration and support as a person for whom words like Spirituality and Religion have little or no personal meaning as those for whom they do. Your experiences, understandings and world views will be held as important as any other because you are a person with worth and value inherent in who you are. This is true with or without the experiences, understandings and world views that form a Spiritual and/or Religious part of how you identify yourself. Being human is enough for us to hold you and your sense of being in esteem.


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