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Chapter 13 - Spiritual Care in the NHS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2022

Christopher C. H. Cook
Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University
Andrew Powell
Formerly Warneford Hospital and University of Oxford
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This chapter explores the nature and role of spirituality as it is worked out within the NHS in the UK. It examines the differences between spirituality and religion and explores the way in which spirituality has developed within the NHS, and is framed and used by the latter. It also discusses the idea of universal spirituality and the positive and negative implications of this concept. The chapter then considers the importance of spirituality for person-centred mental health care, focusing on issues around value, personhood, presence, trust, love and meaning. It concludes with some reflections on the importance of professional boundaries for spiritually oriented mental health care, and the key role that mental health chaplaincy plays in facilitating spiritual care within the NHS. Although the chapter focuses primarily on spiritual care within the UK healthcare system, the implications discussed and conclusions drawn apply to a broad range of contexts and practice.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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