An EAPC white paper on multi-disciplinary education for spiritual care in palliative care


Background: The EAPC White Paper addresses the issue of spiritual care education for all palliative care professionals. It is to guide health care professionals involved in teaching or training of palliative care and spiritual care; stakeholders, leaders and decision makers responsible for training and education; as well as national and local curricula development groups.

Methods: Early in 2018, preliminary draft paper was written by members of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) spiritual care reference group inviting comment on the four core elements of spiritual care education as outlined by Gamondi et al. (2013) in their paper on palliative care core competencies. The preliminary draft paper was circulated to experts from the EAPC spiritual care reference group for feedback. At the second stage feedback was incorporated into a second draft paper and experts and representatives of national palliative care organizations were invited to provide feedback and suggest revisions. The final version incorporated the subsequent criticism and as a result, the Gamondi framework was explored and critically revised leading to updated suggestions for spiritual care education in palliative care.

Results: The EAPC white paper points out the importance of spiritual care as an integral part of palliative care and suggests incorporating it accordingly into educational activities and training models in palliative care. The revised spiritual care education competencies for all palliative care providers are accompanied by the best practice models and research evidence, at the same time being sensitive towards different development stages of the palliative care services across the European region.

Conclusions: Better education can help the healthcare practitioner to avoid being distracted by their own fears, prejudices, and restraints and attend to the patient and his/her family. This EAPC white paper encourages and facilitates high quality, multi-disciplinary, academically and financially accessible spiritual care education to all palliative care staff.


spirituality, spiritual care, education, palliative care, health care professionals, existential needs, religious needs, spiritual needs, curriculum, holistic caregiving, spiritual assessment

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