I read with interest 'Soul survivors' (23 August), exploring spiritual care in nursing and residential homes. I work as Christian resource co-ordinator for a company to provide and promote its vision and philosophy to care for the 'whole person', encompassing the physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs of the individual.
While the company has a Christian ethos, residents are welcomed irrespective of their religious beliefs.
We are supporting research with Nottingham University, and a study has recently been completed which explored care home staff 's perceptions of religion and spirituality following a training course on spiritual care. It is also aimed to address the same question within homes that do not have a Christian philosophy. Further research is addressing methods of training and facilitating a better understanding of providing and evaluating spiritual care.
Sharing practical examples and reflection on care is important - addressing what is sometimes viewed as a 'taboo' area. On most occasions carers have openly expressed their views and wanted to share them with group members. It could be debated whether spiritual care is 'taught', 'caught' or a combination of both. Some people have natural gifts in this area while others find greater difficulties.
Trinity Care is also interested in building on its positive links with the church community. As identified in your article, most homes (85 per cent) held services organised by local churches or religious groups. In our experience, this is invaluable in supporting the spiritual needs of those living in our homes. A small postal survey is being conducted to explore this relationship.
I would be interested to hear from others who have done research in this area or who have a particular interest in spiritual care.
Sharon Craddock Christian resource co-ordinator Trinity Care Nottingham