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Quality health research supports best practice spiritual care, based on both practitioner and consumer experience of outcomes.

Spiritual Health Association provides leadership and support in the development of a research agenda for the sector through supervision, promotion and coordination of study projects. Our combined efforts play a key role in the following processes:

  • Identifying and implementing best practice guidelines which are supported by evidence;
  • Identifying the most appropriate skills and education levels for the credentialling of practitioners who provide this best practice spiritual care;
  • Developing reliable data collecting systems that reflect the real work done by spiritual care practitioners and so facilitate the adequate provision of human resources.

Spiritual Health Association collaborates with the following stakeholders in our quality health research initiatives:

  • Pastoral care coordinators in both public and private sectors within Victoria;
  • Interstate peak bodies similar to Spiritual Health Association;
  • La Trobe University and the University of Divinity
  • American Association of Professional Chaplains’ Joint Research Council - Our Manager of Education and Research has been appointed as the Spiritual Care Australia representative on this council.
  • Transforming Chaplaincy - USA
  • European Research Institute for Chaplains in Healthcare
  • European Association for Palliative Care - Spiritual Care Research Group

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We also contribute to the education of spiritual care practitioners – highlighting the importance and processes of effective, quality health research. This includes encouraging collaboration between different sites within the sector to enable standard data recording processes, so that results can be compared and combined to produce more reliable outcomes.

Please take advantage of the large number of resources and journals on quality health research within the spiritual care sector, or get in touch with us for more information. 

Call us on (03) 8415 1144 or email Heather Tan: [email protected]


Frames for the Future: Developing Continuing Education and Professional Development Programs for Spiritual Care Practitioners: A Perspective from Victoria Australia.

This article by Shinen Wong and Heather Tan (Manager- Education and Research) is in the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counselling (2017) 7 (4), 237-256.
Abstract: This article examines the educational issues in ongoing professional education for spiritual care practitioner.  A meta-evaluation data over fours years (2013-2016) of ones such monthly program conducted by Spiritual Health Association will be examines.  Recommendations are made to support healthcare managers and spiritual care educators in designing and developing continuing education programs for spiritual care practitioners in a variety of other professional health and care contexts. Download the article here.

For more information please contact Heather Tan: [email protected] 

Building Capacity for Spiritual Care and Wellbeing in the Mental Health Workforce

In the Summer 2017/2018 edition of newparadigm, The Australian Journal on Psychosocial Rehabilitation published by VICSERV, there is an article by Spiritual Health Association’s Mental Health Leader, Jenny Greenham and CEO, Cheryl Holmes. The article is titled Building capacity for spiritual care and wellbeing in the mental health workforce. It describes the implementation and evaluation of a training program developed by Jenny for Spiritual Health Association and delivered to mental health workers in Gippsland. The East Gippsland Mental Health Initiative aimed to build the capacity of mental health workers to respond to the spiritual needs of their clients/patients. Its results, supported by other studies, show that workers can benefit from training in the area of spirituality and spiritual care, and that this could provide positive outcomes for clients/patients. You can download the journal by clicking here
For more information contact Jenny Greenham at [email protected]

Review of Literature June 2015

This document records a literature review undertaken in 2015 to assist us in the development of the collaborative research project with La Trobe University and six different healthcare facilities. The main topics reviewed are:
  •  What do Spiritual Care Practitioners do?
  •  How is spiritual health measured?
  •  What are the outcomes of spiritual care?
  •  Spiritual care - a team approach
  •  How do spiritual care staff report their activities?
The outcomes of the search of data in the period 2005-2015, over a broad range of data bases, has been divided into the above topics for easy access and where available, abstracts of relevant articles are recorded in tables in the appendices. Click here to download the Review.


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