Chaplaincy has been provided in primary care (General Practice surgeries) for over 20 years. There are various iterations across the United Kingdom, but their unifying purpose is person-centered holistic care delivered through listening and guidance.
The Pandemic – and lockdown – have presented both Primary Health Care and Chaplaincy in general practice with challenges, particularly with protection of primary care givers and health professionals, and General Practice Chaplains.
The most significant change for chaplains has been that all patient contact is now done by telephone, with visual cues and immediacy being lost. A small number of patients, however, appear to prefer telephone appointments, and some have accessed spiritual care who would otherwise not have been referred. One GP provided this quote from a patient who would not have been referred to, or attended, a face to face appointment, “I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off me. I didn’t realize how heavy the burden was until it was removed.”
Here, we offer excerpts from a Report for the Association of Chaplaincy in General Practice on Spiritual Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
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