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Province Launches Spiritual Health-care Strategic Plan

Plan is First of its Kind in Canada: Ministers

The Manitoba government has released Health and the Human Spirit, the province’s new spiritual health-care strategic plan, Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau announced today at the opening of the Hospice & Palliative Care Manitoba conference in Winnipeg.

“Our new, four-year strategic plan, the first of its kind in Canada, enhances awareness and gives direction for spiritual health care in Manitoba,” said Rondeau.  “It will promote opportunities for Manitobans to experience spiritual health through better awareness, understanding and healing.”

The new plan was informed by a spiritual health-care strategic planning session involving a wide range of community and professional stakeholders, spiritual care providers, volunteers, counsellors, physicians, psychiatrists, policy analysts and individuals who have experienced spiritual care in a health-care context, the minister said.  Research has shown that higher levels of spiritual well-being, along with a sense of inner meaning and inner peace, are associated with better health outcomes, lower levels of depression and anxiety, and a better quality of life.

“Manitoba has been a leader in Canada in consistently supporting the development of spiritual care as part of overall health care,” said Health Minister Theresa Oswald.  “We now have seven spiritual health-care co-ordinators across the province to help connect patients and families with the spiritual supports they need, a unique-in-Canada provincial spiritual health-care co-ordinator and legislation that enshrines the special role of faith-based organizations in our health-care system.”

“Manitoba has taken an important step forward with the release of this plan,” said Fr. Vince Herner, chair, Manitoba Multifaith Council.  “It sets out a vision and goals for Manitoba and recognizes the increasing awareness that spirituality is an important part of human wellness.”

The ministers noted a four-year work plan is currently under development and will enable implementation of the spiritual health-care plan.  The plan will build on previous accomplishments in spiritual health care including a provincewide spiritual health-care volunteer education course, titled The Spirit of Caring, core competencies for spiritual health-care practitioners and the incorporation of traditional Aboriginal healing space at a number of health facilities across the province.

A copy of the spiritual health-care strategic plan is available at:  www.gov.mb.ca/healthyliving/mh/hhs.html.

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