Scotland is a religiously and culturally diverse country.

Most Boards now have Spiritual Care Services staffed by a chaplaincy team who are a good source of knowledge and experience on how to serve the needs of a multi-faith population. Chaplaincy teams help to facilitate spiritual or religious care for all, whatever their faith or life stance happens to be. They will usually know who to contact when a person asks to see someone from a particular faith and belief community. Spiritual Care Service contacts are available on most NHS Board internet sites; an on-call chaplain can usually be contacted 24/7 via main hospital switchboards.

You can resolve many of the issues arising from caring for people from a faith and belief community or culture unfamiliar to you by simply asking the patient, or their visitors, how they wish to be looked after and what practices are important to them. In addition, all NHS Boards should offer access to interpreting services and it is essential to use these services when a patient has difficulty communicating their needs. 

The NES multi-faith resource for healthcare staff contains information regarding attitudes to healthcare staff and illness and death customs for the following communities:

  • Baha’i faith
  • Brahma Kumaris
  • Buddhism
  • Chinese
  • Christianity
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)
  • Hinduism 
  • Humanism
  • Islam
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Judaism
  • Paganism
  • Sikhism

Supporting the spiritual care needs of those who are nearing the end of life

This guidance is designed to help health and social care staff meet the spiritual care needs of people who are approaching the end of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it may also have relevance in other contexts.

It cannot provide detailed information on every belief community; rather it outlines key points and principles, and signposts to where you can find more specific information as required.

Click here to access a print friendly pdf file