Objectives: To explore the views of mental health professionals and GPs about spiritual care, and the effect of personal and cultural backgrounds on their views.
Design: Survey using postal questionnaire.
Materials and methods: Information was collected through an anonymous questionnaire sent to hospital nursing, medical and associated staff at Hollins Park in Warrington, and to local GPs.
Results: It was found that 45% of GPs, 33% of psychiatrists and 76% of nursing staff felt strongly that human beings are made up of spirit as well as body. More nurses felt that spiritual care is equally as important as other forms of care (52%), compared with psychiatrists (33%) and GPs (29%).
30% believed that there is a need for training in this area. The study also found that professionalsí views are likely to be influenced by cultural and religious backgrounds.
Conclusions: Many doctors do not consider that it is their role to be involved in the spiritual care of patients, and many feel too pressured in their work to take on this responsibility. Some people with mental health problems, however, may have spiritual care needs, and doctors should be aware of this as an important aspect of therapy.
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