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Spirituality in Palliative Care Group

The IAPC Spirituality in Palliative Care Special Interest Group is established under the IAPC’s Mission to promote palliative care through education, representation and networking and thereby build capacity in palliative care at the individual and at sector level on the Island of Ireland.

Purpose: The purpose of the Group is to create a dynamic and supportive group within which to share expertise, knowledge and experience for those working across the multidisciplinary team within the island of Ireland, with a specific interest in spirituality in palliative care.


  • Develop a more comprehensive and cohesive/collective understanding of the concept of spirituality, spiritual care and spiritual needs within an increasingly multi-cultural and diverse/non-denominational all-Ireland palliative care context
  • Foster and nurture a mutual understanding of roles and collaborative relationship between palliative care chaplains/pastoral care leaders as professional spiritual carers and the wider multidisciplinary healthcare team
  • Establish links with national and international spiritual care organisations/groups with an interest in palliative care
  • Provide an opportunity to share research and to establish links with the other IAPC Fora and Special Interest Groups
  • Promote awareness and equip members of the multidisciplinary to address spiritual needs of palliative care patients and their families across all settings within in the island of Ireland through: Research; Education; Implementation; Practice


Workplan: Since its establishment the group has been working on a number of initiatives including:

  • Agreeing a Working Definition that encompasses all aspects of spirituality in palliative care.
  • Audit of Palliative Care Spirituality Services in Ireland: The Group is currently engaged in an Audit of Palliative Care Spirituality Services in Ireland which aims to highlight the services available in each Hospice and Homecare Team in the country in order to map the level of services available.
  • The Group also had a Poster Presentation at the International Palliative Care Congress in Montreal Canada in October 2016 entitled,  Learning from the EAPC Spiritual Care Taskforce: Establishing the Irish Association for Palliative Care (IAPC) Spirituality in Palliative Care Special Interest Group IAPC Poster Presentation Montreal 2016



The Role of the Chaplain in Specialist Palliative Care –


Members: Debbie Hayden, Nurse Tutor in Palliative Care, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Harold’s Cross, Dublin (co-Chair)

Dr Rev Daniel Nuzum, Healthcare Chaplain, Marymount University Hospital & Hospice, Cork (co-Chair)

Olivia Archibold, Social Worker, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Harold’s Cross, Dublin

Liz Coyle, Chaplain, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Harold’s Cross, Dublin

Dr Una MacConville, Researcher & Visiting Fellow, University of Bath

Bryan Nolan, Communication & Development Co-Ordinator, Irish Hospice Foundation

Katie O’Connell, PhD Student, Trinity College Dublin

Brian O’Halloran, Chaplain, Milford Care Centre, Limerick

Sr Siobhan Quill, Chaplain, Marymount University Hospital & Hospice, Cork



  • HSE Palliative Care Competence Framework: Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Competencies Download
  • Video – A descriptive study of the role of pastoral care/chaplaincy in specialist palliative care services in Ireland.

    Ms. Carmel Molloy, Pastoral Care Worker, Louth Specialist Palliative Care Service, Dochas Centre, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co. Louth and Ms. Margo Mc Kay, Chaplain, Blackrock Hospice, Sweetman’s Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.