Spirituality and Personhood in Dementia. (ed. Albert Jewell) (2011). Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London.

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Margot Elizabeth Lindsay


Although there are many contributors to this text, there is a consistent harmony running through the chapters.  The emphasis on relationships, personhood, and quality of care, the fear of dementia and the faith which sustains people living with dementia are beautifully illustrated.Gaynor Hammond says that during her years as a nurse she became increasingly aware of the importance of holistic care for older people.  Good quality care takes into account the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the whole person, and while most caregivers are familiar with recognising, implementing and evaluating physical and emotional care, the spiritual aspect is more difficult to identify and assess, there is for some careworkers a reluctance to consider the area of spiritual need.  If spirituality is given any consideration at all, it is thought to be the role of the chaplain or community religious leaders.  It is good to realize that spiritual care does not need to become an extra chore added to an already heavy workload.  The hope is that careworkers will be able to cultivate an approach to providing care which weaves spiritual care throughout the whole of caregiving: caring for the whole person.  Trying to meet people’s spiritual needs is at the heart of all good caregiving.  It is not that it is new, but that it matters so much.  

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Margot Elizabeth Lindsay

Research Department of Mental Health SciencesAssociate Staff