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Spiritual Care with Sick Children and Young People


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Table of Contents

Preface. 1. Introduction to Spiritual Care. 2. Best Practice Principles for Spiritual Care. 3. Interpretive Spiritual Encounters. 4. Spiritual Care, Illness and Identity. 5. Creating Spaces for Spiritual Care. 6. Meaning Making with Children and Young People. 7. Spiritual Care with Families. 8. Spiritual Practices for Spiritual Care. 9. Tensions and Issues. 10. Facilitating Spiritual Literacy. Conclusion. Appendix 1. Spiritual Care Activity Recording Sheet. Appendix 2. Sample Activity Instructions. Appendix 3. Principles, Practice Examples and Activities Grid. Bibliography. Index of Activities.

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Handbook for best practice in the spiritual care of sick children and young people in hospital and other settings

About the Author

Rev. Paul Nash has worked at Birmingham Children's Hospital since 2002, and has been Chaplaincy Team Leader (Senior Chaplain) since 2004. He is the director of Red Balloon Resources, for paediatric daily, palliative end of life and bereavement care for children, families and staff, and the co-founder and co-convenor of the Paediatric Chaplaincy Network for Great Britain and Ireland. He is the academic lead on children's and young people's chaplaincy modules in a partnership with Staffordshire University. His current research involves developing distinctive standards, competencies and best practice for paediatric chaplaincy. Paul lives in Birmingham, UK.Kathryn Darby has been a Chaplain at the Birmingham Children's Hospital since 2006, is an ordained Methodist Minister and a trained counsellor. She has published research on the spiritual needs of children with cancer and is currently engaged in further research in developing tools for spiritual care with children who are sick. She takes a particular interest in self-care and building resilience for caring professions and runs retreats, mindfulness sessions and projects, including a choir, as part of offering support. She is involved in Spiritual Direction and the Retreat movement. Kathryn lives in Birmingham, UK.Rev. Dr Sally Nash is an experienced researcher, author and educator. She is Director of the Midlands Institute for Children Youth and Mission and has published in the field of spirituality, spiritual and religious needs of sick children, work with young people, and reflective practice. She is the academic lead for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Chaplaincy team on research, designs spiritual care resources and has also been involved as a volunteer in youth work with young people with mental health problems at the hospital. Sally lives in Birmingham, UK


This book demonstrates how essential it is to have spiritual care integrated in multi-professional practice to address this much neglected dimension of holistic care. With 27 years in the field, I am certain that a cancer diagnosis causes spiritual pain and suffering for children, young people and their families. In the modern western world, largely distrustful or disconnected from religion, we have lost our spiritual language. The authors offer us simple and effective tools to connect in a spiritual way with those we care for. If you are at all uncertain read page 149 first. -- Jeanette Hawkins RGN, RSCN, DPSN, MSc Advanced Nursing Practice, Assistant Director, CLIC Sargent
Paul Nash, Kathryn Darby and Sally Nash offer a book borne of the intense and awe-filled experience of listening to children and young people who have dis-ease. This is the kind of book I wish had been available when I became a pediatric chaplain over twenty years ago-examples, potential activities and most of all the spiritual reflection that can only be done by people who have been at the hospital bedside. It is in the act of play that we become who we truly are, and these playful activities aim to facilitate wholeness by helping children and youth connect with their core identity and become their healthy-whole-selves. -- Daniel H. Grossoehme, DMin, MS, BCC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Research) and Staff Chaplain III, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
This handbook is a valuable and timely addition to the literature given that, today, much attention is being given to the role of spirituality in holistic health care and wellbeing. The topics are relevant and have been carefully informed by current research and the extensive use of story both illuminates and inspires the work. The writing is accessible and the wide array of activities and strategies offered by the authors make this book particularly useful for parents and care workers alike.' -- Marian de Souza, Chair, International Association for Children's Spirituality
This is a recommended read and a much needed resource for anyone involved in caring for sick children and young people. For far too long there has been a deficit in this specific field and dimension of practice. The authors should be congratulated for providing an engaging and informative text supporting the integration of spiritual care within everyday practice all the while keeping the voice and needs of the sick child and young person and their families at the centre of all interaction. -- Wilf McSherry, Professor in Dignity of Care for Older People, Staffordshire University, The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and Haraldsplass Deaconess University College
This is a sensitively written handbook applicable for all health professionals caring for young people with an illness and their families. Based on current research and the experience of skilled spiritual care practitioners, this text comprises numerous practical examples and strategies that will provide a solid methodology and a valuable assessment guide for those wanting to add depth or another dimension to the quality of their care. -- Dr. Lindsay Carey, MAppSc, PhD, Research Fellow in Palliative Care and Head of Public Health Major, School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, and Co-Editor, Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, UK
Thrust as I was on day one into the paediatric department, I was left to fend for myself in a field that I have since learnt has a unique set of parameters and skill-set required to fully engage with sick children, young people and their families. If you ever find yourself in the same boat- READ THIS BOOK FIRST!... [it] is sure to become required reading for any paediatric chaplain and I would commend it to anyone who wishes to engage holistically with sick children in their care. -- Ministry Today UK
The sad reality is that children get sick and sometimes die. This thoughtful and practical book offers ways in which we can help support the spiritual needs of children at those times. -- The Church of England - Child in the Mists Newsletter and network of Anglican Children and Youth Advisers
I wish I had had this book when I first became a hospital chaplain. Thrust as I was on day one into the paediatric department (on the grounds that I was the only chaplain who had children!) I was left to fend for myself in a field that I have since learnt has a unique set of parameters and skill-set required to fully engage with sick children, young people and their families. If you are ever in a similar boat to me - READ THIS BOOK FIRST. This book is sure to become required reading for any paediatric chaplain and I would commend it to anyone who wishes to engage holistically with sick children in their care.... Impressively structured, the authors weave together intelligent theological reflection, experienced praxis and case studies that illuminate the principles being revealed and discussed. -- William Ruddle * Ministry Today UK *
The premise of this much needed handbook is that spiritual care is "easier to explore than to explain". It does this powerfully by recounting more than 40 verbatim accounts of "interpretive spiritual encounters" that the chaplains at Birmingham Children's Hospital (BCH) have had with Children and young people there... This is a useful, hopeful, and thought-provoking resource, which is well worth a complete read-through. It can also, however, be dipped into for clear, practical guidance by those who find themselves needing to lay solid foundations that will allow interpretative spiritual encounters to happen. -- Revd. Dorothy Moore Brooks * Church Times *

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