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Newsletter, May-June 2017

10 hints for giving spiritual care

Grete Scharfe

  1. Sit down. Show that you have time (if you have). You may tell the patient how long time you have.
  2. Be yourself. Don't be afraid of sharing some of yourself - e.g. your own beliefs and how what the patients tell you make you feel. But show that it is the patient that you are interested in.
  3. Acknowledge your resources and limitations. Don't be afraid of expressing what you have to offer, what not, and what you are willing to refer to others e.g. chaplain. Limits give contact. When you don't know what to say, then maybe that is what you should say! (Bent Falk)
  4. Use your senses. Share with the patient what you see, hears, wonders. Check your perceptions with the patient.
  5. Listen. Don't be afraid of silence.
  6. Don't hesitate to ask questions. Rather hesitate to give answers.
  7. Give options. Give the patient time to consider the possibilities. Give him the chance to change the decision later.
  8. Show respect. Ask for permission to ask personal questions and to share your perceptions with him (point 4). Appreciate the patient's trust. Don't take it for granted. It's a gift for you. Thank him for it. Be careful about what you report to your colleagues.
  9. Make sure it is the patient - and not you - who leads how far you should go and sets the pace.
  10. Use the resources at hand: colleagues, leaders, chaplain, psychologist, staff meetings, teaching sessions, literature.

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