Reflections on the Journey
Written by Philip Murray, Spiritual Health Leader and Educator, Spiritual Health / Professional Practice

A new resource outlining the spiritual health services at Fraser Health is now available on FH Pulse.

Spirituality is an intrinsic part of humanity that has a profound impact on life, health and well-being. It is the combination of the beliefs, values, behaviours, experiences and relationships which inform meaning and purpose for each one of us. Our spirituality is expressed through the traditions or practices that we embrace and is intimately connected to our emotions. It can include or be influenced by religious beliefs and practices, beliefs about existence or ultimate meaning, and is profoundly impacted by culture.

recent study of Canadian spirituality published by the Angus Reid Institute found that a majority of British Columbians (74%) are “Religiously Committed”, “Privately Faithful”, or “Spiritually Uncertain”, and almost half “consider personal faith and/or religious belief to be important when dealing with major challenges and problems in life”. This shows us that most patients, families and staff within Fraser Health are likely to have spiritual health needs that are important to identify and support. Spiritual care is a person-centred therapeutic intervention that attends to one’s spiritual health. It includes such things as being compassionate and actively listening, identifying important cultural, spiritual or religious beliefs and practices, and supporting these needs. Spiritual care also includes specialised therapeutic interventions which attend to more complex needs such as spiritual distress, existential suffering, and grief.

Fraser Health is in the process of instituting spiritual health services that align with the Ministry of Health’s Spiritual Health Framework, which envisions “a health care system that recognises and addresses the spiritual dimension of health” for British Columbia. This framework also outlines the role, scope and competencies of Spiritual Health Practitioners, members of health care teams who have specialised training and expertise to provide “comprehensive spiritual care and emotional support services to patients, families and health care staff”. Supporting the spiritual health of our patients, their families and staff is something that all health care professionals can do, and many have this expressed in their standards of practice.

Fraser Health is committed to addressing the spiritual health needs of the people in our care, and a new resource outlining the spiritual health services at Fraser Health is now available on FH Pulse under the Clinical Resources section. We are also in the process of updating our referral processes for spiritual health, and a number of educational opportunities designed to enhance team members’ ability to support the spiritual health of patients, residents, clients, families and each other will soon be available.

For more information about the Spiritual Health services available at Fraser Health, please contact spiritual.health@fraserhealth.ca.


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