What is the value of Spiritual Care? Patient reported outcome measures

Dr Heather Tan1

1Spiritual Health Victoria, Abbotsford, Australia


To increase awareness of patient outcomes of spiritual care as reported by inpatients after discharge and to inform future spiritual care provision.

The Scottish Patient Reported Outcome Measure of Spiritual Care – a validated questionnaire,  (with permission Scottish NHS) was utilised. The study assumed spiritual care can be provided by other health professionals, as well as the professional spiritual care providers.  5000 copies were posted to patients meeting inclusion criteria, discharged from the following sites: 2 large Melbourne general hospitals, 1 small regional private hospital and 2 large Adelaide general hospitals. Participating patients returned the questionnaires anonymously in reply paid envelopes.

Results will be finalised by the conference. Data relating to Patient  spiritual care experience   (e.g. being listened to, free to talk about what matters to them, being understoodspiritual care and their faith/beliefs/values respected) will be discussed. Data will also inform our understanding of patient outcomes of spiritual care intervention e.g. their feelings (peace/anxiety), their outlook on life and sense of being in control. Demographic data (age, gender, spiritual/religious/none) may also yield information informing improved services to particular groups.

Significance of Findings to Allied Health:
Person centred care is an important objective for all health care providers and includes a person’s spiritual/religious beliefs, practices and values. Awareness and integration of best practice spiritual care is therefore of significance for all Allied Health practitioners – and increasingly recognised by government departments and health care providers.


Heather has a background in education, research, pastoral care and counselling with a particular focus on palliative care. She has experience in tertiary education including at the post graduate level in the areas of loss, grief and bereavement, spiritual care, issues in death and dying, communication skills, research methods. She has been involved in research and publications in the areas of spiritual care, grief and bereavement, psychosocial and spiritual issues in palliative care and research literacy.

Her role at Spiritual Health Victoria as the Manager of Education and Research has included teaching into tertiary programs in pastoral care, educating about and facilitating research in the sector directed to developing an understanding of patient experience of spiritual care and an evidence base for best practice.