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Whilst understanding spirituality and enabling older people to meet their spiritual needs is not dependent upon policy it is important to consider how the spiritual dimension is part of the policy framework.  Highlighting spiritual care needs is part of the implementation of policies and standards relating to the quality of care provided for older people.  Spiritual care is not a ‘bolt-on’ or simply an extra task for carers but integral to attitudes and a way of working.

PALLIATIVE CARE - Sources of further information:
The Palliative and End of Life Care Zone at NHS Inform can be accessed at

The Scottish Government 2020 Vision available at

The London School of Economics report – Equity in the provision of palliative care in the UK – Review of Evidence (April 2015) available at

World Health Organisation

Caring for people in the last days and hours of life (Scottish Government) 2014 -


National Care Standards:

To view the February 2016 update on National Care Standards, please click HERE

To view the response from Scottish Care (December 2015) to the consultation on the National Care Standards, please click HERE

To view FIOP's (December 2015) response to the consultation on the National Care Standards, please click HERE

Please click here to view FiOP's response (September 2014) to the National Care Standards

World Health Organisation

‘The value of the spiritual elements in health and quality of life has led to research in this field in an attempt to move towards a more holistic view of health that includes a  non-material dimension, emphasising the seamless connections between mind, body’. 

(Consultation on Spirituality, Religion and Personal Beliefs 1998)


Spiritual care is usually given in one-to-one relationships; is completely person centred and makes no assumptions about personal conviction or life orientation.

Spiritual care is now a positive requirement within the Health Service and NHS staff are expected to acknowledge spiritual needs and aspirations and to be sensitive to the wide variation in values and cultural backgrounds of their patients.

(HDL (2002) 76, Spiritual Care in Scotland)

Social Care Section – National Care Standards (2007)

‘You do not have to alter your values and beliefs in order to receive a service can continue to live your life in keeping with your own social, cultural or religious beliefs or faith when you are in a care home.

(The National Care Standards are under review July 2014)

Palliative Care

Meeting the end of life care needs of residents should ‘take into consideration their cultural, spiritual and religious needs and other life circumstances’

(Scottish Government, Living and Dying Well, 2008 Action 15)

Scottish Dementia Strategy 2010

This strategy has a strong focus on person centred care that incorporates the spiritual elements

Reshaping Care for Older People – a Programme for Change 2011-2021

This is the Scottish Government’s policy to promote the provision of high quality care and support for older people on the principle of social justice and a hallmark of a compassionate society.  It sets out a vision that ‘older people in Scotland are valued as an asset, their voices are heard and older people are supported to enjoy full and positive lives in their own home or in a homely setting’.

The role of faith communities in participating in this programme is considerable.