Spiritual Needs Improves Care Practices

Research carried out by a University of Aberdeen academic has led to the formation of a unique initiative which looks at the issue of spiritual care within health and social care in Scotland.

The Kairos Forum LogoThe initiative has contributed to better practice for the NHS, social care and religious communities following research carried out by Professor John Swinton.

The Kairos Forum for People with Intellectual or Cognitive Disabilities was established in 2012. It is not a specifically religious organisation, but seeks to meet people’s religious and spiritual needs.

The Forum provides consultancy, educational materials, and information on topics such as equality, advocacy, and community building, aimed at supporting individuals, their families, and those who work to support them.

The focus of the Forum is specifically on spirituality, religious practice and the message that ‘everyone belongs’, within communities both religious and secular.

Spirituality is a broad concept. For some people it relates to religion, but for others it is much broader including things such as meaning purpose, hope and love.

The Forum is one place to build communities where each of us can truly belong. Whether you are religious or not, spirituality can be the beginning of belonging." Professor John Swinton

Find out more

  • Professor John Swinton's biography and publications
  • Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability
  • John Swinton and Elaine Powrie, Why Are We Here: Understanding the spiritual lives of people with learning disabilities (London: Mental Health Foundation, 2004)
  • John Swinton, Cristina Gangemi, Matteo Tobanelli, Giada Vincenzi, Enabling Communities to meet People with Learning Disabilities and respond effectively to  their expressed Spiritual and Religious Needs: A Participatory Action Research Approach (University of Aberdeen: The Kairos Forum, September 2012)
  • John Swinton, Harriet Mowat and Susannah Baines, Understanding the spiritual lives of people with profound and complex learning disabilities: A community oriented action research approach (University of Aberdeen: The Kairos Forum, September 2012)