Report for the Association of Chaplaincy in General Practice on Spiritual Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:spiritual care, COVID-19, primary care, general practice
Chaplaincy has been provided in primary care for over 20 years. There are various iterations across the United Kingdom, but their unifying purpose is personcentered holistic care delivered through listening and guidance. This report seeks to describe and analyse the impact of COVID-19 on chaplaincy services in primary care. Initial reflections highlight the range of presenting issues, old and new. Organizational factors such as logistical questions and virtual communication issues demonstrate the barriers faced by patients and chaplains, alongside new opportunities. As existing support networks and services have become less accessible, chaplaincy has a role to play in anticipating and responding to patients’ unmet needs. These include “losses,” both personal and communal, grief, both past and current, and questions of an existential nature. In responding to these challenges, chaplaincy should seek to be more visible, more intentional in identifying those at risk of loneliness, and more accessible to those less proficient in the new communication technologies, such as the elderly. This report suggests how chaplaincy will have a significant role in supporting patients with anxiety, lockdown traumas, loss of well-being, and the many socioeconomic effects of the pandemic.
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