No 26 June 2006
By the time you read this you will be very aware that there is something happening in Germany this month. There are thirty two nations competing for the honour of becoming world champions at football. However certain sections of the press would have you believe that the tournament is only about one player, or rather one portion of one player. His toe.
Now I will freely admit that I was hopeless at football when I was at school and I was always last to be picked when choosing sides. But I do remember being told that football was a team game. Individual flair can certainly change the dynamic of a game but it can't make up for a team that doesn't know how or doesn't want to work as a unit.
Teamwork is at its best when it is sustaining and encouraging of all the members and where everyone has a firm grasp of what is being aimed for. Working together can help smooth the differences of personality and ability that you will find in any group of people. Someone I talked to recently helped me understand this better by comparing the two loves of his life: golf and music.
If you play badly at golf and those around you are playing well it can make you very cross and perhaps a wee bit jealous. If you find yourself playing badly in an orchestra, however, you are very glad that there are others playing well!
I think most of you will agree that chaplaincy teams are, on the whole, a pretty good example of working together. It's a real joy to work with people from many different denominations and people of different faiths with a common goal of bringing support and comfort to folk at a time of great need. It's a great example of how we can pool our considerable resources to achieve an outcome that we simply couldn't do if we all stayed in our own little corners.
At the present time chaplains are working together on many different issues. Our recent spring meeting, about which you can read an account elsewhere in this edition of Soundings, was aimed at helping us to come to a consensus about the future direction of chaplaincy, how we define the task that we undertake and what resources we have to achieve it.
Another example of working together comes in the shape of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplains. You can get a flavour of that in this issue too . It's exciting because as a collective body of chaplains from Russia to Portugal, Iceland to Malta, we may be beginning to be able to influence the policy makers in the continent in the spiritually rich field of palliative care.
Working in such an environment is a constant reminder to me that we are all one body and certainly more than just one toe.
Derek Brown President of SACH
Four members of SACH at the 9th Consultation of ENHCC in Lisbon. David Mitchell (far right) talks to Derek Brown, Chris Levison and Margery Collin.
Having dipped in to the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy (ENHCC) website from time to time I thought I had an understanding of the organisation and its work however, having ‘been and seen' I realise there is far more scope to this group than I had understood and it is not only unique but in many ways ahead of its time with a huge potential to influence the future of healthcare chaplaincy in Europe and beyond.
I was invited to speak to the conference on the development of palliative care chaplaincy in Scotland and with Chris Levison and Fred Coutts draft a statement for consideration and discussion at the consultation.
The presentation was very well received but nothing could have prepared me for the discussion and debate, not even my years of experience refereeing the readjustment debates in Glasgow Presbytery as convenor of the reappraisal committee. The content of the debate was straight forward with general agreement, the challenge however, was conducting the debate in a setting with just about every Christian denomination imaginable, and where the vast majority of delegates were communicating in a second language (English). It was humbling to hear the delegate from Transylvania in Romania, translate for the Hungarian delegate and then put that into English. My commiserations went to two of the French delegates who had no English, maybe next time they will follow the example of the delegate from St. Petersburg and bring an interpreter.
I had introduced the revised Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains Standards for Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplaincy and offered them as an example of good practice that could be adapted for use across the many different countries and health systems in Europe. There was general agreement that Palliative Care is topical and on the agenda of all European countries and by focusing attention on what is current we can use palliative care chaplaincy as a springboard for the future development in healthcare chaplaincy in general.
It is stunning to think that you can get so many different countries, denominations and traditions to agree a joint statement and that's where this group is ahead of its time. If this had been an Ecumenical gathering we would still be debating theology and differences, but this was a gathering of chaplains focused on practical pastoral care, focused on caring for the real people who are our patients, families and colleagues. What a difference that makes.
Aside form the new friendships made, the fascinating differences and similarities in healthcare chaplaincy across Europe, my lasting impression was one of pride. We don't realise in Scotland just how far advanced we are in healthcare chaplaincy. Not only in the UK or Europe but I sense the world. We are well served by 3 professional organisations, we have a Healthcare Chaplaincy Training and Development Unit with a permanent and committed staff, and thanks to NHS HDL 76 (2002) we have a structure of Spiritual care committees and in practice are recognised as a health care profession by NHSScotland.
The consultation has made a lasting impression. It was great to be there and to present Scotland as an example of good practice for others to follow. Now I'm working out how I can wangle the 10 th Consultation in 2008, though knowing my luck it will be in Glasgow rather than somewhere much more exotic. Prague sounds nice - hint hint!
Lecturer in Palliative care and
Consultation representative of the AHPCC
Reports, photographs and the text of the statement on Palliative Care can be found on the ENHCC website: www.eurochaplains.org
And just to put David out of his misery…..the next Consultation of ENHCC will be in Estonia in 2008.
25 members attended the conference which centred on the theme of the recently published Chaplaincy Academic and Accreditation Board (CAAB) paper Advancing the agenda for professional chaplaincy.
Derek Brown, SACH President, introduced the topic and began by asking why this agenda needs to be addressed. There are four reasons why chaplaincy cannot remain the way it is:
The Church of Scotland is no longer employing newly appointed chaplains and is in the process of transferring all its whole time chaplains to Health Boards. Use of public money to pay church employees.
To whom is the chaplain answerable? Church or NHS? Employment issues eg terms and conditions. Line management.
Rights and needs of minority faiths. Census returns which highlight the changes in society's belief patterns.
Specialism & professionalism
Maturity of chaplaincy eg Standards and Competencies. A growing sense of self confidence. Generic, not faith based chaplaincy.
The way ahead
We are in a period of reflection and deliberation, defining chaplaincy as a specialist ministry and healthcare profession.
CAAB discussion paper had three main themes:
- Professional Representation
What conceptual, theoretical and vocational attributes are required?
eg Educational qualifications
Why do we need it?
Protection of public
Spiritual care done badly can damage people
Not all chaplains are clergy so we can't rely on church procedures.
Ensuring standards are met and kept
Continuing Professional Development
To be regulated by law we need to evidence that we have a discrete body of knowledge.
The question we need to ask is: what is our speciality?
Who speaks for us? Derek expanded some of the detail about who the major players in healthcare chaplaincy are and their function.
Chaplains do the job
If we aren't proactive others will take initiative
Work in Progress
Chaplaincy Standards in Scotland
Registration steering group
After Lunch the chaplains divided into three separate groups to discuss the following:
How did you get into chaplaincy?
What qualities do you feel are essential for chaplains?
How do we balance vocation and academic attainment?
Who should decide who is fit to practice?
What pitfalls can you foresee following the route of statutory regulation?
Is CPD a necessary evil?
As Registered professionals what title should be protected?
Is the role of chaplains in healthcare adequately understood and supported?
What should our link with faith communities be?
What other forms of representation would be beneficial?
You can find the full minutes of the meeting on the website: www.sach.org.uk/spring06.htm
This excellent course, arranged by the Chaplaincy Training and Development Office in May, was attended by a number of Healthcare Chaplains from around Scotland. It gave an insight into Mental Health and its effect on people, whether those who suffer from it or those who support them: family, friends, colleagues or professional workers. It then examined ways in which participants could assist these different groups of people in crisis or in long-term illness.
The four key aims of the Mental Health First Aid programme, which had been developed in Australia and is being rewritten from a Scottish perspective, are: -
- Raising awareness and promoting mental health and well-being
- Eliminating stigma and discrimination
- Preventing suicide and supporting people affected by the aftermath of suicide
- Promoting and supporting recovery for people with mental health problems/mental illness
The training showed how there are already a number of initiatives in place to promote these aims, including the See Me campaign; Choose Life; Breathing Space; Heads Up; the Scottish Recovery Network and Scotland's Health at Work (SHAW).
The course was split into four sessions over the two days.
This looked at mental health and the need for mental health first aid. It showed how people who are aware of the issues can support those who are experiencing mental health problems. Information was given on the variety of illnesses and how often they occurred in society. Participants were encouraged to think about the response of ‘ordinary' people to those who suffer these illnesses. The main theme of the course was presented in the form of: -
The Five Steps of Mental Health First Aid
A ssess risk of suicide or self harm
L isten non-judgementally
G ive reassurance and information
E ncourage the person to get appropriate professional help
E ncourage self-help strategies
The session concluded with a look at depression, the effects of drugs and alcohol on this and the risk factors to look out for.
This began with an in-depth look at suicide in Scotland and the crisis first aid that participants could utilise when faced with a person who looks to complete suicide. Information was given about dealing with a suspected drug overdose. The rest of the session was spent on the causes and symptoms of depression and the treatments and available resources that can assist in this.
This started with an overview of anxiety disorders and their symptoms and causes. Details were given as to how to help a person experiencing a severe panic attack and an acute stress reaction. Some useful information on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy was shared.
This looked at the psychotic disorders including schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. Information was given on the symptoms of these disorders, the risk factors that affected them and how to offer crisis first aid to a person who has acute psychosis. Details of the treatment and resources available were shared with the group. Scottish mental health legislation and the powers of detention were discussed at this point. Some more information on other expressions of distress, including self-harm, was shared. Finally participants were encouraged to consider their own response to the course and to take on board their responsibility to support others who are experiencing mental health crisis.
This was a well-presented course, using a variety of presentation techniques including small and large group discussion, PowerPoint presentation, video clips and handouts. A quiz given during the course enabled participants to consider their responses to particular situations. The SMHFA manual that was given to all participants is a useful tool since it not only covers the course content but also lists the various resources and help groups that are available in Scotland. Participants were left feeling more aware of the issues and empowered to offer assistance to those experiencing Mental Health crisis or on-going difficulties, based on the Five Steps listed above.
Anyone involved in chaplaincy who has not had the benefit of this training would be well advised to contact Chris Levinson at the Chaplaincy Training and Development Office to enquire about future opportunities for attending.
Chaplain, Ailsa Hospital, Ayr
Ongoings and goings on
There have been a number of recent meetings/ days/ events which have been of significance and interest. The day conference at Dunblane on Organ Transplantation proved a most interesting and informative day, the Sikh conference in Pollock Park was both tasty and inspiring and the Mental Health First Aid course run by Tony McLaren in the NES Office in Glasgow was particularly well received. Reports on these days can be found on the web site www.chaplains.co.uk
Other days have included a conference at New College Edinburgh, “Being Fully Alive”, a day, hosted by the Training and Development Unit for the other Diversity strand teams at which we presented to each other the areas in which we are working. (Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Age, Disability and Religion/Faith are the six strands), and several meetings with Board committees and with chaplains. Of course there was also the European Network of Chaplains consultation in Lisbon. (See Page 2) When I complained to people about the early nature of my flights, there was, surprisingly, no sympathy!
Work on a “Multi Faith Resource” for NHS Scotland is continuing and the first draft will be discussed this week before being sent for further consultation. The newly formed Chaplaincy Training and Advisory Group (CTAG) meets towards the end of June and will, among other things, look at the post graduate training there should be for chaplains. The conference on “Standards for Chaplaincy Services” on 27 th June at Glenskirlie House, Banknock should be an interesting day, as it invites us to look at the shape of such a service and the kind of questions by which we can audit and assess progress.
There continues to be a lot of interest in spiritual care and in chaplaincy. A recent conference, mainly on nursing issues, I am told, held several references to patient centred work and the need for the kind of listening and sensitivity to culture and belief, which is core to the nature of chaplaincy. There are many difficult issues also, about perception, employment, accountability and access to information. It is important for us all to remember the importance of spiritual care and to enable it to be understood and valued as much as possible. For all the hurdles, I remain basically optimistic about the future. In fact, I can't think of any other way to be.
Training and Development Officer / Spiritual Care Advisor
NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
2 Central Quay
89 Hydepark Street
Glasgow G3 8BW
Tel: 0141 223 1443
The Hospital Chaplain's Handbook
A Guide for Good Practice
by Mark Cobb
(Canterbury Press 2005)
This important and impressive book ...offers vital tools, perspectives and provides critical insights into spiritual care at both an interpersonal and an institutional level.
Professor John Swinton
University hosts unique conference
with Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier
On the 12th of September 2006, the practical theology section of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy of Aberdeen University will be hosting a unique conference that will bring together two key thinkers within the area of the theology of disability: Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier. Hauerwas (Named America's best theologian by Time Magazine 2001) is the only mainstream theologian to have written consistently about the significance of disability for theology. Over a forty year period he has produced vital and deeply insightful work reflecting on the lives of people with disability, the political significance of community and the importance of taking the experience of disability as a vital critical principle when addressing the weaknesses and failures of liberal society. Hauerwas' sometimes radical focus on disability, friendship and community as primary dimensions of what it means to be human and to live humanly parallels, if in a quite different way and from a very different angle, another major theologian who has a specific focus on disability: Dr. Jean Vanier.
Jean Vanier is the founder of the L'Arche communities, an international network of communities within which people with learning disabilities and people who do not share that life experience live together, not as carer and cared for, but as fellow human beings who share a mutuality of care and need. The L'Arche communities provide a unique model of inclusive community which is underpinned by a profound spirituality and theology about which Vanier has written extensively. His work on the theology of disability and the spirituality of community and friendship is widely recognized as being of profound significance for disability theology and the practice of community. Like Hauerwas, Vanier sees disability not as a problem to be solved, but as a way of being human that requires to be understood and lived out in community. Unlike Hauerwas, Vanier has spent over 40 years working alongside and living with people with learning disabilities. Yet despite their differences, (one coming from a context which is highly academic and distanced from the lives of people with disabilities, and the other also an academic but one who has dedicated his life to living with people with disabilities) taken together they offer unique and vital insights into disability, community and humanness. The intention is to engage them in dialectical conversation which will engage and explore their thinking in new ways with the intention of producing new knowledge which is challenging and transformative. The conference will initiate a unique meeting of minds with the aim of developing challenging perspectives on issues that are vital not only for our understanding of disability, but for the type of society we choose to create for the future.
Places are limited and enquiries should be directed to:
Professor John Swinton:
School of Divinity, History and Philosophy
University of Aberdeen
A few months ago I was invited to represent the faith and spiritual belief strand of Equality and Diversity at a Scottish Executive meeting as part of the Performance Planning and Implementation Group. Different issues have arisen from this including the chair being taken over by The Scottish Health Council to ensure a proper place for patient and public involvement. We need to know what the issues are from these people before we can set indicators to measure them. Perhaps the most interesting project at present which I am involved in is the Personal Stories and Health Topics Resources Group.
The Personal Stories and Health Topics Resources Group has been successful in being awarded funding to gather Strand Specific Case Studies by employing a researcher for a limited period of time to
a) engage diverse health service users to gather stories which tell of problems which have arisen and of good practice in using the NHS in relation to one or more equality strands (age, disability, faith and spiritual belief, gender, race and sexual orientation)
b) research and develop a set of resources that clearly and succinctly describe how the needs of people belonging to one or more of the diversity strands are relevant to the key health topics as defined by NHS and SEHD targets.
The project is funded by the Inclusion Project and will be co-ordinated by a small Reference Group which will include representatives from Fair for All Strands, SEHD, NHS Scotland and Analytical Services.
I would encourage you to support this work if you are approached by the researchers or if you are aware of any particular stories or resources which might be useful then please contact Steve Aitken:
Head of Spiritual Care
Dark Nights of the Soul
Thomas Moore [Piatkus 2004]
M edicine plays an important role in all suffering, emotional and physical. The problem is that medicine itself has [a tendency to] become materialistic and only recently has been searching for ways to include a spiritual dimension. [To often] It treats the body as only physical and neglects the full range of connection between meaning, emotion and physical state. ……… [p.36]
You may be lying in a hospital with a sick person in the next bed, nurses and orderlies visiting you all day long, family and friends stopping by to say hello, and voices and buzzers sounding around you. Still, your illness may make you feel cut off from the human family. Anatole Broyard, a writer and a very articulate patient, spoke of these feelings.
“I see no reason or need for my doctor to love me – nor would I expect to suffer with me. I wouldn't demand a lot of my doctor's time: I just wish he would brood on my situation for perhaps five minutes, that he would give me his whole mind just once, be bonded with me for a brief space, survey my soul as well as my flesh, to get at my illness, for each man/[woman] is ill in his/[her] own way.”
Broyard wants a real connection, and his plea is an important one in the cool, often remote world of medicine. ………[p. 39]
Chaplain, Inverclyde Royal
[Bracketed words inserted by contributor]
President Derek Brown promotes the Journal at the 9th Copnsultation of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy in Lisbon in May 2006
The next year will be a year of substantial change for the editorial board of the journal as the editorial board look forward to celebrating the 10 th Anniversary of the journal, and continuing its development and reputation throughout Scotland, the UK, Europe and the world.
At our recent editorial board meeting we received the resignations of Ken Coulter and George Beuken both of whom have served the editorial board for 5 years. Ken and George have been active board members during these years, suggesting authors, writing themselves and of course critiquing and encouraging other authors' submissions. We record out thanks to them both.
After 7 years working together the current editors will be standing down at the end of this year and are delighted to announce that Janet Foggie and Iain Macritchie will be our replacements and indeed Janet and Iain are already at work seeking to replace the departing board members and planning for the 10 th anniversary issues.
Looking to the rest of this year volume 9(2) 2006 is shaping up nicely though as ever we would welcome your contributions by way of articles, reflections, poetry and letters to the editors. In seven years we have never once had a ‘letter to the editors' for publication, maybe our new editors will be more able to encourage a response.
As this will likely be our last update for SACH Soundings we wish Janet and Iain, the editorial board and the journal well for its next decade. We'll have an opportunity later to say more by way of a personal thank you but for now a huge thank you to all members of SACH for your support and encouragement. Thanks too to the executive of SACH who have given us the freedom and support to develop the journal as we saw best. But of course a huge thank you to the authors who have submitted articles for publication over the years, and without whom we wouldn't have a journal at all.
Georgina Nelson & David Mitchell
Help to carry one another's burdens (Galatians 6.2)
Copied from a personal calendar sent out by Peterjan van der Wal, a hospital chaplain from the Netherlands.
he Secretary of SACH is :
Marie Curie Hospice
1 Belmont Road
Glasgow G21 3AY
Telephone: 0141 531 1346
You can find this (and previous) editions of SACH Soundings in full colour
on the SACH Website:
If you would like to receive the colour version of SACH Soundings by E-mail in Acrobat PDF Format, send your E-mail address to: Fred.Coutts@sach.org.uk
Send news, articles, pictures, stories and ideas s soon as possible to:
Rev Fred Coutts
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Tel: 01224 553166