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Existential and spiritual care

The purpose of the group is to investigate the existential and spiritual needs of ill citizens and how we can best meet these needs in health care through a strategic and professionally sound health practice, which prioritises the focus on the whole person with all its many needs - physical, mental, social and spiritual. The Danish Health Authority, inspired by WHO documents, in several of their recommendations and guidelines and last in December 2017 emphasized that patient treatment also includes existential and spiritual care as well as physical and psychosocial care.

Historically, this care precedes the biomedical revolution that in many ways is pressed it back, but is now once again given priority, not only within the palliative field, but in health care broadly as a basic element of holistic and person-centered medicine. The Danish Health Authority's recommendations and the Danish Quality Model make it clear that it is the responsibility of the primary sector and of hospitals to implement existential and spiritual care in the hospitals. However, many years of extensive international research and since 2008 now also Danish research point out that it is difficult to live up to the recommendations and responsibility. Spiritual and existential patient problems are taboo-plagued, so it is still largely the hospital chaplains who will stand as guarantors of spiritual and existential care, even though such care is wider than so.

The purpose of the research group "Existential and Spiritual Care" is thus to remedy this deficiency and thereby ensure the continued development and progress of research at the spiritual and existential level in Denmark with rich interaction between the parties involved, who care for the patients. Based on different research traditions and in close dialogue with actors from both research and clinical environments, the research group will work on the following three levels:

Continuing exploration of patients' spiritual and existential needs and their handling by health professionals (sub-projects 1.1-1.2)

Research-based development of interventions aimed at health professionals for optimizing the spiritual and existential care provided in the health service (sub-projects 2.1-2.3)

Research-based development of interventions aimed at patients to optimize their spiritual and existential well-being (subproject 3)

The group is led by Niels Christian Hvidt, professor of existential and spiritual care.

Please contact Niels Christian Hvidt, if you are interested in collaboration.

General Practice Department of Public Health University of Southern Denmark

  • J.B. Winsløws Vej 9A
  • Odense C - DK-5000
  • Phone: +45 6550 3030

Last Updated 05.04.2022