Neetu’s a spiritual force at Prospect Hospice
A survey in 2013 revealed that more than three quarters of the UK population believe in the power of spiritual forces, despite a decline in the popularity of organised religion since the start of the millennium. Essentially then, most people believe in something, even in an increasingly secular society, so spirituality is still a very important part of everyday life for most British people. We know from experience too that more people think about faith and belief when they, or a loved one, approach the end of their lives, which is why spirituality remains an important part of life, and of death, at Prospect Hospice, as it always has been.
Earlier this year we welcomed Neetu Bhardwaj to the Prospect Hospice as our first spiritual coordinator. Neetu is a psychotherapist by profession but has been a prominent member of Swindon’s Hindu community and previously involved in Cruise Bereavement Care as a counsellor and we were delighted that she could bring her skills and experience to Prospect Hospice, in support of the spiritual needs of people who seek our care. “I think spirituality is something much bigger than just religion, and applies to people who often wouldn’t consider themselves to be religious,” she says. “It relates to our values, our beliefs – the way of our being.”
It is hardly surprising that many people question what it is that they do and don’t believe at the end of their lives and, for Neetu, discussing their concerns has already brought a sense of self-understanding and, ultimately, peace of mind for many of the people she has supported since she began working for Prospect Hospice. “People I have met have been understandably distressed about the future,” she says. “I’ve met people who have been anxious about the people they will leave behind. We explore that together, get to the root cause of their fears, always with the aim of bringing them a sense of calmness and acceptance. With one patient I met, it was about helping them to give themselves permission to die.”
Neetu acknowledges that, within spirituality, religion has an important place for many patients and the people closest to them. Part of her role is to work alongside local leaders of all faiths when patients want to see them. For now, she is pleased to be working with our other patient-focused teams to bring spiritual care alongside their general wellbeing.