Spiritual & pastoral care

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience” – Teilhard de Chardin.

Spiritual care is an important strand of the support that the hospice offers to patients and families. The pain that we treat is not only physical, emotional and social but spiritual.

By spiritual we mean considering where we find meaning and purpose within our lives especially as we approach suffering and death. By including the spiritual within our support we are better able to help people find peace and hope both at end-of-life and for those with life limiting conditions.

North London Hospice was one of the first hospices to be created on a multi-faith basis and this ethos continues to this day. We are able to give spiritual care whether you are part of a recognised faith, see yourself as spiritual or would consider yourself a humanist or atheist. All that we do is patient centred and so the wishes of patients are always the thing which is most important to us.

We offer a range of different services and resources to meet the needs of those in our care.

We have a chaplaincy team drawn from many different faiths. Patients and families are able to ask for a specific chaplain to visit for rituals, prayers or to talk about what is going on. The chaplaincy team visits those in our Inpatient Unit and those who are being cared for in the community in their own homes. We are also able to reconnect people with faith communities that they have had links with in the past.

For those in our Inpatient Unit we have a Room of Quiet. The Room of Quiet at the hospice is available for the use of patients and families who would like to have a space for reflection or to pray.

What is spiritual care?

Spiritual care is one of the four pillars of modern hospice care:

  • Physical – relieve pain and physical suffering
  • Emotional – help with anxiety and depression
  • Spiritual – bringing peace and placing importance on meaning/value of life
  • Social – helping mend relationships at the end of life

Spiritual care is about creating a human connection, and an openness with the other person, which communicates a desire to understand.

An individual’s spiritual and religious needs can be about exploring sources of hope and strength, engaging with love, family, friendship, being inspired by the outdoors, music or art. It may involve addressing the needs of people in their search for meaning or helping to make sense of their lives, especially as people face their own mortality.

For many it is about the support of a faith community, practising personal beliefs or religious ritual:

  • Prayer
  • Scripture
  • Rituals
  • Access to sacraments

If you would like to speak with someone or access a local faith group, please ask a member of our clinical team to refer you to our Patient and Family Support Service.