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1.

  Religious and cultural observance should never be forced on patients or their relatives in anyway. However, religious and cultural beliefs can often be very important. A patient's religious affiliation, if any, should be recorded as early as possible. Patients or their relatives should always be offered the opportunity to see a spiritual leader or religious representative of their choice.
 

2.

  The Trust Pastoral and Spiritual Care Team provides 24 hour cover. Members of the Team represent the Church of England, Roman Catholic and Free Church denominations. They can be contacted at any time through the hospital switchboards.
 

3.

  The switchboards also hold a list of religious leaders of other denominations and faiths. The Trust Pastoral Care Team can also be contacted for advice on how to get in touch with the patient's own priest or religious leader.
 

4.

  If there is uncertainty about how the patient's religious requirements can most helpfully be met, it is best first to ask the patient, or the patient's family, exactly what help they would like. Individuals will vary in their expression of their faith, and some will find religious observance more important than others.

A blue A4 folder entitled ‘Meeting the Patient’s Religious Needs’ is available in all wards and clinical areas, and the information it contains is also reproduced on the website and Trust Intranet. The folder provides useful but basic guidance about the way in which a patient belonging to a particular religious faith might express their need for religious observance whilst in hospital.
 

5.

  The Pastoral and Spiritual Care Team is also happy to be available to those who do not profess a specific faith or denomination. Patients or families who do not hold a particular belief sometimes appreciate the offer of prayer, especially perhaps when a patient is close to death, or after a patient has died. This opportunity should always be offered.
 

6.

  The Pastoral and Spiritual Care Team is also happy to facilitate a pastoral ministry which may not necessarily include religious ritual of any kind. If patients or relatives are distressed, struggling with problems related to their illness, or with more long-term issues, they may value the input of someone who is neither a clinician, nor closely involved with them in a personal way.

 

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