More than 300 people attended the 4th annual Caring for the Human Spirit Conference that took place March 13 – 15, 2017 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. The conference included over 30 dynamic presentation and cutting-edge posters. There were over 20 exhibitors and a record breaking turn out for the Renewal ceremony of commitment. The new addition of spiritual care generalist certification was very successful.
In health care, spiritual care matters—to patients, to families, to health care providers, and to health care settings. It is increasingly being recognized as a vital component of whole-person care. Its integration into interdisciplinary health care teams has been gaining ground across the continuum of care, especially palliative and hospice care. Patients are playing a much more proactive role in the health care they receive, and patient-centered care requires the entire team to consider spirituality in deciding how to best optimize a patient’s quality of life. We urge Congress to recognize spiritual care as a key aspect of whole-person health care; and to support and facilitate expanded access to optimal spiritual care and resources across health care settings. For current and future patients and their families, and the health care professionals and settings they rely on, it matters.