Improving the spiritual dimension of whole person care: reaching national and international consensus

J Palliat Med. 2014 Jun;17(6):642-56. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2014.9427. Epub 2014 May 19.


Two conferences, Creating More Compassionate Systems of Care (November 2012) and On Improving the Spiritual Dimension of Whole Person Care: The Transformational Role of Compassion, Love and Forgiveness in Health Care (January 2013), were convened with the goals of reaching consensus on approaches to the integration of spirituality into health care structures at all levels and development of strategies to create more compassionate systems of care. The conferences built on the work of a 2009 consensus conference, Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care. Conference organizers in 2012 and 2013 aimed to identify consensus-derived care standards and recommendations for implementing them by building and expanding on the 2009 conference model of interprofessional spiritual care and its recommendations for palliative care. The 2013 conference built on the 2012 conference to produce a set of standards and recommended strategies for integrating spiritual care across the entire health care continuum, not just palliative care. Deliberations were based on evidence that spiritual care is a fundamental component of high-quality compassionate health care and it is most effective when it is recognized and reflected in the attitudes and actions of both patients and health care providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Consensus Development Conferences as Topic
  • Culturally Competent Care / methods
  • Culturally Competent Care / standards*
  • Empathy*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Models, Psychological
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Palliative Care / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Spirituality*
  • Standard of Care
  • Terminal Care / methods
  • Terminal Care / standards*
  • United States