Reviews

Spiritual Care with Sick Children and Young People

This thoughtful book is by members of the chaplaincy team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

This thoughtful book is by members of the chaplaincy team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The authors refer to it as a handbook, written for chaplains, paediatric health professionals, arts therapists and youth workers, and it should be of interest to hospital, hospice or community-based nurses. Parents, including those with life-threatening illness who are seeking guidance on how to support their children, may also find it helpful.

Spiritual care is often considered to be synonymous with religious care. This book readdresses this misconception, however. It describes spirituality as something that lies beyond religion, which speaks to the aspect of our humanity that seeks meaning and purpose, and connections between ourselves and with the wider world. It explores principles and best practice, drawing on an evidence base derived through the authors’ research.

In exploring ways to engage with children and young people the book focuses on ‘a spiritual dimension and resources’ already present in even the youngest child, such as a sense of play, imagination and curiosity.

It also introduces the concept interpretive spiritual encounters (ISE) to discuss experiences and their inherent meaning. This section starts slowly, and the description of ISE may lose some readers, but the subsequent seven chapters are readable and engaging; each brimming with practice examples and suggestions of activities to help children and young people talk about spirituality. Each chapter can be read in isolation, and used as a practical handbook to guide care.

This book offers cancer nurses new perspectives and much-needed guidance on how to build genuine and thoughtful spiritual care into their practice.

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