Healthcare Chaplains practice in a professional environment that places certain expectations and obligations upon them. In 2015 the NHS in England issued revised NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines. The guidelines include revised descriptions of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy:
Spiritual care is care provided in the context of illness which addresses the expressed spiritual, pastoral and religious needs of patients, staff and service users. These needs are likely to include one or more of the following:
- Ways to support recovery issues concerning mortality
- Religious convictions, rituals and practices
- Non-religious convictions and practices
- Relationships of significance
- A sense of the sacred
- Exploration of beliefs
Chaplaincy: The term ‘chaplaincy’ is not affiliated to any one religion or belief system. There have been changes in attitudes and contemporary language driven by changes in our communities. To that end modern healthcare chaplaincy is a service and profession working within the NHS that is focused on ensuring that all people, be they religious or not have the opportunity to access pastoral, spiritual or religious support when they need it.
NHS (2015) NHS Chaplaincy Guidelines 2015, London. NHS England.