Interfaith Health Care Association of Manitoba

What is Spiritual care ?

We recognize that healthcare involves treating the whole person and that spiritual wellbeing can help improve health and quality of life. Spiritual care attends to a person’s spiritual or religious needs as he or she copes with illness, loss, grief or pain and can help him or her heal emotionally as well as physically, rebuild relationships and regain a sense of spiritual wellbeing.

There is no one definition of spirituality, but in general, spirituality:

  • is something everyone can experience
  • helps us to find meaning and purpose in the things we value
  • can bring hope in times of suffering and loss
  • encourages us to seek peace with ourselves, others and what lies beyond.

These experiences are part of being human; they are as present in people with a learning disability and other conditions, such as dementia or head injury, as they are in anybody else. Furthermore, spirituality often becomes more important in times of distress, emotional stress, physical and mental illness, loss, bereavement and the approach of death. All healthcare tries to relieve pain and to cure, but good health care tries to do more. Spirituality emphasizes the healing of the person, not just the disease. It views life as a journey, where good and bad experiences can help you to learn, develop and mature.

As part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team, Spiritual Health professionals:

  • Provide a compassionate presence during health crises
  • Help individuals explore the meaning of illness in their lives
  • Help individuals draw on their own spiritual resources for strength, including the resources of their spiritual tradition or faith community
  • Provide spiritual care that is sensitive to culture and religion
  • Assist individuals in making treatment and care decisions
  • Work with a health care team in providing care for the whole person
  • Help individuals review their life stories and use their illness as an opportunity to celebrate achievements, rectify past mistakes and add something new to their stories   (Source)

Spirituality in health care has been defined as:

A dynamic and intrinsic aspect of humanity through which persons seek ultimate meaning, purpose, and transcendence, and experience relationship to self, family, others, community, society, nature, and the significant or sacred. Spirituality is expressed through beliefs, values, traditions, and practices, including religious beliefs and practices.

Members of the Interfaith Healthcare Association of Manitoba draw inspiration from the beliefs and values of each of their judeo-christian heritage and seeks to provide an open, caring and compassionate environment that empowers individuals to draw on their own beliefs and practices for comfort, courage and strength, recognizing the invaluable healing powers of the human spirit.

What difference can spiritual care make?

Service users who engage in spiritual care and practices report better self-control, self-esteem and confidence, faster and easier recovery (often through healthy grieving of losses and through recognising their strengths), better relationships – with self, others and with God/creation/nature and a new sense of meaning, hope and peace of mind, which allows them to find healing (in distinction to cure) and to accept and live with continuing problems.

Core Competencies

Manitoba's Provincial Spiritual Health Care Steering Committee's Professional Education and Training Working Group have developed with partners , Manitoba's Core Competencies for Spiritual Health Care Practitioners in recruitment and evaluation of SHC practitioners.  To view the Core Competencies, click HERE.


Spiritual Health Toolkit


IHCAM is a member of the Provincial Spiritual Health Care Steering Committee that has been working together since 2015 to develop promotional, educational, and formation tools for individuals and organisations working in Spiritual Health and Spiritual Care in Manitoba.  One of the partnerships that has been established is with the University of Manitoba to create a hub to share health information and knowledge.  Please click onto the following link to find many resources, links to websites, etc. 


In 2015 Catholic Health Australia (CHA) undertook an extensive survey about pastoral care service provision in the Catholic health andaged care sector. The report analysing the findings of the survey can be found at the CHA Website ( The survey report included a range of recommendations. These have been used to develop the following pastoral care assessment tool. Individuals, teams and organisations can use the tool as a way of recognising strengths and determining areas for improvement.

A suggested approach for using the pastoral care assessment tool is provided for consideration and adaptation. The template is intended to be a point of reference which can be adapted and/or integrated with an organisation’s existing frameworks and reporting tools.  A point scoring system is offered as a way of measuring improvements over time. A suggested process is as follows:

1. Individual pastoral practitioners and managers self-assess how they perceive their service is performing against each of the focus area issues.
2. Pastoral care teams together review the results of the individual assessments and develop a “team assessment.”
3. The team assessment is presented to the executive for consideration, agreement of priorities and development of a plan of action.
4. The plan of action is reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
5. The pastoral care assessment tool is revisited to assess progress and determine new priorities and action plans.

To view the full assessment tool click on this link: