Reflection: A Manifesto for Catholic Health and
Social care Workers
I often get asked for resources to help Catholics, other Christians and people of faith working in Health and Social Care. What people working at the most important end – caring for and working alongside real people – seem to want more and more is something short which can remind and inspire them. What they want less and less is the long is the theological and policy justification, though people clearly want this done. “We expect the Church to support us by advocating for us to Government, while nurturing and supporting us in our faith” was what one Director of Nursing and her team recently told me.
The points below are adapted from the Catholic Health Association of Texas. You can find many resources from a range of states and US wide at the Catholic Health Association of US website. They have devised a statement of faith for Catholic presence in Healthcare. This covers both their healthcare facilities and their staff, as well as how they will deliver healthcare in a setting with a strong, visible Catholic Ethos. I have used this with small and large groups and so far everyone finds it useful.
- in the dignity of the human person and in the resulting holistic approach to patient care which recognizes and integrates the physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological care of both patient and family.
- in those Catholic/Christian principles and standards, which create a total environment which assist administration and medical staffs in making difficult ethical decisions.
- in justice and equity for associates in the workplace that fosters personal and professional development, accountability, innovation, teamwork and commitment to quality.
- that advocating for social justice can enable the neglected in society to empower themselves and their communities.
- that the Catholic health ministries must recognize their social accountability to the communities they serve, developing policies and procedures to ensure this accountability, and responding pro-actively to engage in community outreach,
- each Catholic in healthcare is directly participating in the healing ministry of Christ and the mission of the Holy Spirit
- the Church should foster and maintain collaborative linkages with the broader community – Catholic, ecumenical and community-based to re-humanise healthcare
- that to be effective stewards of our ministry, we must develop organizational structures that promote management effectiveness, continuous quality improvement, well-trained medical staffs, and comprehensive programs and services.
Questions for Reflection or Discussion
When I have been working with groups on this statement, we often focus around three questions for discussion
- What is specifically Catholic about this understanding? Is it about the value we put on people?
- What would be your guiding principles and beliefs in healthcare work?
- Does healthcare in the UK need a statement of faith and values? If so, what can we add to that?