How To Care For Patients Even When You Differ In Spirituality?

How can I provide spiritual care to patients?

  • One of the easiest ways to provide spiritual care is to simply ask patients how you can support them and then do your best to follow through on the request.


How do you provide spiritual needs to patients?

9 Ways to Provide Spiritual Care to Your Patients & Their

  1. Take Your Cues from the Patient.
  2. Demonstrate a Christ-like Attitude.
  3. Support Patients Within Their Own Faith Tradition.
  4. Share an Encouraging Thought or Word.
  5. Join a Team that Supports Spiritual Care.

How does spirituality affect patient care?

There is also evidence to suggest that better treatment decisions are made when spirituality is a factor in decision making. A study on end-of-life outcomes showed that spiritual support from a patient’s medical team resulted in greater hospice utilization, less aggressive interventions, and fewer ICU deaths.

How could a nurse help patients meet their spiritual needs?

Also, the interventions to meet patients’ spiritual needs included respect for privacy; helping patients to connect; helping patients to complete unfinished business; listening to patients’ concerns; comforting and reassuring; using personal religious beliefs to assist patients and observation of religious beliefs and

When caring for patients the nurses must understand the difference between religion and spirituality religious care helps individuals?

When caring for patients, the nurse must understand the difference between religion and spirituality. Religious care helps individuals: Maintain their belief systems and worship practices. Develop a relationship with a higher being.

What are examples of spiritual needs?

Spiritual needs are those needs for our life to have meaning and purpose:

  • Forgiveness.
  • Reassurance.
  • Acceptance.
  • Hope.
  • Peace.
  • Giving thanks for the goodness of our life.

What are the seven spiritual needs?

Well being: A personal plan for exploring and enriching the seven dimensions of life: Mind, body, spirit, love, work, play, the world.

How can I improve my spiritual health?

12 Ways to Boost Your Spiritual Health

  1. Explore Your Personal Values. Your personal values are the characteristics that are most important to you.
  2. Start a Yoga Practice.
  3. Meditate.
  4. Increase Self-awareness.
  5. Keep a Journal.
  6. Practice Mindfulness.
  7. Spend Time in Nature.
  8. Digital Detox.

What are some barriers to providing spiritual care?

The main barriers to spiritual care are the difficulty in defining spirituality; the lack of clear guidelines for the nurse’s role in providing spiritual care; nurses’ lack of time to provide spiritual care; and a lack of training and education on spirituality for pre- and post-registration nurses.

What factors influence patient spirituality?

The “Spirituality Meaning” category included five themes, such as mind, emotions, mind/emotions, ethical principles, and religion. Personal practices and environmental factors as well as mind, emotions, ethical principles, and religion themes were in the “Factors That Increase Spirituality” category.

How do you perform your role as a nurse in providing spiritual care to patients?

THE ROLE OF THE NURSE IN SPIRITUAL CARE To provide spiritual care, the nurse needs to be able to conduct a spiritual assessment; recognize the difference between religious and spiritual needs; identify appropriate spiritual care interventions; and determine when it is appropriate to deliver spiritual care.

What is my role if any in providing spiritual care to my patients as a nurse?

(c) Providing a Range of Spiritual Care: Nurses can provide spiritual care by attending to several important spiritual elements. This includes supporting the patient’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and individualizing spiritual care to the patient.

How do you assess spiritual needs of a patient?

Most of these assessment tools involve asking the patient questions about their personal spirituality and rituals, faith and beliefs, resources and expectations. They consist of open questions; this enables the assessment of specific aspects of the patient’s beliefs and promotes inclusion.

How does religion affect patient care?

According to Cultural Religious Competence in Clinical Practice, “Religion and spirituality are important factors in a majority of the patients seeking care. Religion and spirituality can impact decisions regarding diet, medicines based on animal products, modesty, and the preferred gender of their health providers.

Which factors usually prevent nurses from providing spiritual care to clients?

Which factors usually prevent nurses from providing spiritual care to clients? Terms in this set (64)

  • Aging population.
  • Higher divorce rates.
  • Socioeconomic factors.
  • Lower life expectancies.
  • Older age at first marriage.
  • Decreased number of children.

How spiritual care affects both the patient and the nurse?

Unmet spiritual needs appear to have a profound impact upon patient wellbeing (11). These adverse outcomes include reduced levels of quality of life, increased risk of depression and reduction in perceptions of spiritual peace (12). Spiritual care is believed to be a major part of the nurse’s role (14).

9 Ways to Provide Spiritual Care to Your Patients & Their Families

We at AdventHealth are devoted to providing patients and their families with comprehensive, whole-person care. That entails going above and above to meet not just their bodily needs, but also their emotional and spiritual requirements as well. To be a chaplain or hold a theology degree is not required, which is a welcome relief. It might be as simple as providing a short prayer or a reassuring touch to someone in need. As you investigate some of the methods of providing spiritual care described below, keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to providing spiritual care.

Imagine yourself in their shoes when you deal with them, and pray to God for the wisdom to assist them in the manner in which they require.

1. Take Your Cues from the Patient

Because patients are guests in our hospitals, it is critical to allow them to take the initiative throughout each visit. Don’t try to bring up themes such as church or religion in your conversation. Instead, begin by inquiring about their health and the circumstances that led them to the hospital. This provides children with the chance to express themselves and what is important to them. Pay close attention to the nonverbal indications that your patient is giving you. When patients are in need of something, they may try to be polite by not expressing themselves.

To provide spiritual support, it’s first necessary to attend to your patient’s physical requirements, which may include changing his or her bed, turning off the television so they can have some quiet time, or assisting them to the toilet.

2. Demonstrate a Christ-like Attitude

Treat your patients with the same compassion that God has for you! Never only say you love someone; actually love them and look for the good in them is what is required. That means treating them as though they are the person who has the most value in your life, regardless of whether you agree with what they say or how they treat you. Always keep in mind that love is not always an emotion. There are moments when you must make a conscious decision to smile even if you don’t feel like doing so, to make eye contact, to listen effectively with a loving heart, and to serve without expecting anything in return.

3. Ask the Patient How You Can Support Them Spiritually

In order to give spiritual care, one of the simplest methods is to simply ask patients how you can best assist them and then do your best to fulfill their request. When a Greek Orthodox Christian client requests to speak with a priest before going into surgery, phone the Greek Orthodox Church in your neighborhood and see if the priest would be willing to pay them a visit before the procedure. Always remember, though, not to promise your patient something you aren’t confident you will be able to achieve.

Instead of promising a Greek Orthodox priest by 3 p.m., simply say, “Let me look into it and see what can be arranged,” or anything along those lines. If the priest is not accessible, offer to contact a chaplain on the patient’s behalf or to pray with him or her in private.

4. Support Patients Within Their Own Faith Tradition

While delivering spiritual care is not intended to convert patients to your religion, it can assist them in making contact with the divine if they so want. Keep in mind that they are a captive audience, frequently confined to a hospital bed that they do not want to be in when you are interacting with them. In these situations, it is always proper to display God’s love and compassion, but it is not fair to tell patients what they should believe or how they should think. I am well aware that this is an area that might cause internal struggle for caregivers who desire to remain faithful to their own religious or philosophical convictions.

Consider this scenario: When I pray with patients who are not Christian believers, I make certain that the words I use do not clash with my own religious convictions.

Only God has the ability to alter hearts.

5. Listen to FearsConcerns Without Going into Your Own Stuff

Whenever someone begins to express their concerns to you, it’s natural to respond with, “I understand how you feel,” and then to embark into a tale about one of your own experiences. Keep in mind, though, that you are there to care for the patient, not the other way around. For emotional and spiritual support, I’ve found that naming the emotions you hear patients or family members express and then asking a follow-up question is far more effective than simply listening. In this case, you may respond, “I can sense a great deal of anxiety in your comments.

” Alternatively, “You appear to be in a bad mood.” “Can you tell me what’s going on?” I inquire.

Instead, simply interpret it as a hint that the time isn’t appropriate for you.

6. Ask if You Can Pray with Them

Sometimes caregivers are confused of how or when to approach a patient and ask if they would want to be blessed. Generally speaking, if your patient is in distress, you should inquire as to whether or not you may pray for them on their behalf. “Mrs. Jones, would you mind if I said a little prayer for you?” is a common phrase I use. “Thank you for your time.” The word “short” is significant because it communicates to the patient that, even if they don’t understand what you’re going to say, they will most likely be able to accept it since it will be brief at the very least.

7. Share an Encouraging Thought or Word

Scripture has a remarkable ability to elevate people’s spirits and provide encouragement. Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorite Bible verses to share with patients, and it comes from the book of Psalms. “Be quiet, and know that I am God,” the verse states. When I read this scripture to frightened patients, I encourage them to remain cool, take a deep breath, accept that they are in the presence of God, and trust that God will take care of them.

What sections of Scripture speak to you on a deep level? My recommendation is that you memorize two or three of them so that when the chance presents itself, you may draw from the well of spiritual concepts that have inspired you and utilize them to encourage others.

8. Use the Gifts of PresenceTouch

Scripture has a remarkable ability to elevate people’s spirits and give them hope and motivation. Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorite Bible scriptures to share with patients, and it is taken from the book of Isaiah. ‘Be quiet, and know that I am God,’ the verse states. In sharing this text with patients who are anxious, I encourage them to remain calm, take a deep breath, accept that they are in God’s presence, and trust that God will take care of them. When you read the Bible, what passages stand out to you the most?

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9. Join a Team that Supports Spiritual Care

Consider joining our team at AdventHealth if you want to work in an atmosphere where you’ll be encouraged to deliver whole person care to patients and families. We’re constantly on the lookout for outstanding team members who see healthcare as a form of ministry and who are ready to assist you in using your skills to benefit others. Prayer, spiritual care, whole person care, mission, and healthcare as ministry are some of the topics covered.

Incorporating Spirituality into Patient Care

Throughout history, the histories of medicine and religion have been intertwined in some way. Many faith-based communities, organizations, and agencies created hospitals and hospices as part of their overall mission to serve the community. In the contemporary period, however, the two have become more separated as medicine has become more scientific, culminating in the development of what has come to be known as the biomedical model in the mid-nineteenth century. In this time of secularization in medicine, some religious hospitals stayed committed to their faith-based mission, while others preserved their religious identity simply in name, as was the case with many Catholic hospitals.

  • Over the course of the next generation, this new concept became increasingly popular in Western medicine.
  • It’s common to hear the response, “Medicine is secular; religion is sacred and private,” when a patient or even a health-care professional brings up a religious principle when addressing health-care issues.
  • A good example of this disparity is the fact that, despite the fact that virtually all hospitals provide chaplaincy services, the chaplain is often not considered a member of the clinical team, but rather as an additional consultant in most situations.
  • A few of medical schools in the United States that were founded in the previous 175 years have enlarged the biological paradigm by including the notion of caring for the complete person into their mission statements, which emphasize the significance of a spiritual dimension in patient care.

In light of this trend, health-care practitioners should have a deeper grasp of the patient’s own personal, cultural, and religious beliefs.

Religion and Medical Ethics

As medical technology advanced fast in the 1960s and 1970s, providing methods of extending the lives of terminally sick patients, some individuals began to ask “should we.?” questions in addition to “can we.?” concerns about whether or not to use certain procedures. These are not clinical or even scientific concerns; rather, they are value-based inquiries. The fact that we are considering doing something does not imply that we should. Such problems emerge often nowadays in scenarios including end-of-life care, therapeutic limitations, the treatment of patients who have what others consider to be a lower quality of life, the utilization of limited or expensive resources, and so on.

  1. The answers to these concerns are frequently debated in bedside circumstances that are submitted to a clinical ethics specialist or committee for further discussion.
  2. When the first issues about what is good and wrong in medicine were raised, they were frequently raised by people of religion who realized that religious traditions addressed these ideals in some way.
  3. The foundations of medical ethics are firmly rooted in faith, despite the fact that the field has been largely taken over by philosophers, physicians, the courts, and health policymakers in recent decades.
  4. Actually, it’s rather simple.
  5. All of these people have values, which are frequently founded on religious beliefs.

Foundations of Medical Ethics: Secular and Sacred Principles

Despite the fact that there are several conceptualizations of medical ethics, principlism is arguably the most often stated in North American discourse. While not adequate in and of itself to fully answer all ethical difficulties in medical practice, the principle of utilitarianism is frequently used as a starting point for such conversations. They are well-known and have been addressed extensively in a variety of venues, including medical schools and professional societies. The four foundational principles are (1) nonmaleficence (first and foremost, do no harm), (2) beneficence (always seek the best interests of the patient), (3) respect for autonomy (the patient has the right to make decisions for himself or herself), and (4) justice (do what is right for the patient) (we should treat like patients alike, without discrimination).

Respect for individuals is a common way of expressing this value.

The theologians who laid the groundwork for current medical ethics did so on the basis of principles as well, but these were sacred values.

Some of the holy precepts and beliefs held by followers of one or more of the three monotheistic religion traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) that may be significant, and in some cases even determinative, in resolving difficulties in medical ethics have been identified elsewhere by the author.

  1. The Imago Dei is the image of God (the image of God in man).
  2. This is innate, rather than imposed, and may be difficult to comprehend when we consider those born with anencephaly or suffering from severe dementia.
  3. The sacredness of human life.
  4. Human existence is unique; it differs from the lives of other animals.
  5. This conviction in the sanctity of life, on the other hand, does not imply that we must constantly make an effort to delay human death, which is an unavoidable result of the Fall as well.
  6. We live in a fallen world, complete with all of its manifestations, as a result of Adam’s transgression.
  7. We should make every effort to prevent or control sickness.

After all, we are all limited in our abilities.

When the topic of quality of life is brought up, some people of religion object, claiming that we should only be concerned with the sanctity of life.

If the costs of continuing to live make it impossible for us to fulfill God’s plan, we are not bound to take excessive steps to prevent death.

Those who follow the sacred books of all three monotheistic faith traditions believe that God is capable of interfering in our lives in ways that we cannot explain or comprehend, and in ways that appear to be at odds with the rules of nature.

Unfortunately, we have a tendency to overuse the word “miracle,” as in “wonder treatments,” “miraculous survival,” and so on.

God, on the other hand, has the ability to perform such things when He so chooses.


It is our responsibility to remember that compassion literally means “to suffer with.” Some people mistake the phrase to suggest a patient’s life is being mercifully ended.

The Ministry of Health and Human Services.

The prospect of an eternal life.

A loving God has given us the hope of eternal life with him.

“Hope” is not “the belief that something will come out good, but the knowledge that something makes sense regardless of how it ends out,” said former Czech President Václav Havel, in a thought-provoking essay.

The universe in which we exist as human beings has been corrupted, and we are subject to the authority of an all-powerful God.

It is God’s expectation that we would make decisions about how we will utilize our abilities and resources that we have been given liberty.

The time it takes for a patient to die might vary significantly depending on whether or not we opt to utilize cardiopulmonary resuscitation, ventilator support, dialysis, one more round of chemotherapy, antibiotics, or an intravenous feeding tube.

Many persons of religion view the theological idea of free will and the secular concept of autonomy as being synonymous with one another.

In a more literal sense, the Hebrew prophet Micah set a limit on our ability to choose when he said, “He has shown you, O Man, what is good.” And what is it that the Lord expects of you?

In our role as free moral beings, we are not to be arrogant, making judgments only on the basis of our personal ideals, interests, and position of power.


Justice, on the other hand, entails receiving what we are due.

For example, the Roman Catholic ban against willfully causing death is absolute (or almost so), as is the Orthodox Jewish prohibition against ceasing life-sustaining treatment, and the Jehovah’s Witness prohibition against donating blood is practically absolute.

Some values, such as compassion and fairness, are held equally by religious and nonreligious people.

Inquiring about their religious beliefs, recognizing these principles, and addressing them openly, sometimes with the assistance of a chaplain or their own clergy, may frequently assist in bringing clarity and closure to a difficult situation.

The Professional’s Right of Conscience

When it comes to understanding and addressing professional ethical challenges, being sensitive to the role of personal and religious values is most important since it focuses on the beliefs of patients and families. However, the professionals involved in these challenges are also individuals with their own personal and religious beliefs, which they must consider while making decisions. A health care professional’s religious principles may be violated if he or she is involved in counseling about, or specifically conducting, operations such as abortion, sterilization, withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies, physician-assisted suicide, and other similar procedures.

Remembering the moral distinction between a patient’s negativeautonomy (the right to refuse treatment or be left alone) and positiveautonomy (the rights to have one’s preferences carried out by others) is vital from time to time.

The Patient’s Personal Values

Individuals’ values, which they use while making tough medical decisions, can be quite personal. Depending on one’s religious views, certain personal values are founded solely on one’s beliefs. Some are based on a person’s worldview or philosophy of life, while others are more specific. When a patient’s “religious preference” or cultural background is noted in their medical record, health care workers should be cautious not to infer that the patient has certain beliefs based only on this information.

  1. There is a similar diversity of ideas seen within many different groupings.
  2. There have been several recommendations for how to explore the spiritual aspect by way of a spiritual history, which have all been rejected.
  3. F—Do you consider yourself to be a member of a religious tradition?
  4. C—Do you consider yourself to be a member of a religious community?

Considering that just a percentage of a person’s personal values are based on his or her religious beliefs, I would recommend augmenting this spiritual background with a fifth question: “What personal values do you have that could also influence how you would like me to care for you?” Inquiring about this information can be obtained without being intrusive throughout the course of taking a patient’s medical history.

A faith-based approach recognizes that a patient’s religious beliefs may be an important part of his or her identity and that the care team is willing and even eager to consider personal and religious beliefs when making critical health-care decisions.

In addition, it may be appropriate to ask patients or families if they would like to speak with the hospital chaplain or their own pastor, priest, rabbi, or spiritual advisor.


Patients’ spirituality is being increasingly recognized as important in modern Western medicine, both during their treatment and after they have recovered. Nowhere is this more crucial than when it comes to discussing and resolving ethical concerns in the field of bedside medicine. So it’s critical for physicians to be aware of and familiar with the process of gathering a patient’s spiritual history in a noninvasive manner. The same is true for health care practitioners, who must recognize when their own beliefs create challenges in their practice of medicine and be ready to cope with concerns that may develop as a result of exercising their own right of conscience.


  1. The need for a new model: a biomedical problem, according to G.L. Engel. Science.1977
  2. 196(4286):130
  3. Georgetown University School of Medicine is a prestigious medical school in Washington, D.C. The mission and diversity statement are as follows: Loma Linda University School of Medicine website, accessed on March 16, 2015. Our mission is to. It was accessed on the 16th of March, 2015. Pellegrino is the executive director. The architecture of clinical judgments: some thoughts on what constitutes good reason and good conduct. The following are the editors’ choices: Engelhardt HT Jr., Spicker SF, and Towers B. A Critical Appraisal of Clinical Decision-Making 1979:169-194
  4. A. Verhey and SE Lammers, editors. Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Company
  5. 1979:169-194
  6. A. Verhey and SE Lammers, editors The Role of Theological Perspectives in Medical Ethics The William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1993
  7. Example: casuistry, consequentialism, deontology, story ethics, and virtue ethics are all philosophical concepts. Childress JF, Beauchamp TL (authors). The 6th edition of Principles of Biomedical Ethics is now available. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 2008
  8. Orr, R.D. A theological framework is required. Medical Ethics and the Faith Factor: A Handbook for Clergy and Health-Care Professionals is a handbook for clergy and health-care professionals on medical ethics and the faith factor. 2009:22-33
  9. V. Havel and K. Hvizdala (eds.). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (2009:22-33). A Conversation with KarelHvid’ala about Disturbing the Peace. See, for example, the March 2013 edition of the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics
  10. Lucchetti G, Bassi RM, Lucchetti AL. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf
  11. 1990:181
  12. Micah 6:8 (RSV). Instruments for taking spiritual histories in therapeutic practice: a comprehensive review of the literature C. Puchalski and A.L. Romer published Explore (New York) 9(3):159-170 in 2013. A spiritual history assists doctors to have a more complete understanding of their patients. Palliative Medicine Journal, Volume 3, Number 1, Pages 129-137, 2000.

Providing spiritual care

Please keep in mind that this material is intended for healthcare professionals only. In addition, we have information for the general public. This page may be used to reflect on how this page has assisted you with your continuous professional development by filling out our My Learning form. Palliative care is concerned with the whole well-being of the patient, taking into consideration their medical, emotional, social, and spiritual requirements. Being diagnosed with a terminal disease frequently causes people to reevaluate their life, and their spiritual needs may shift as a result.

What are spiritual needs?

For various people, spirituality may mean different things in different situations. Spirituality can include religious beliefs and practices, although spirituality is not usually associated with religion or faith. Everyone, regardless of whether or not they adhere to a particular religion, has spiritual needs throughout their life. The following are examples of spiritual requirements:

  • Needing meaning and purpose in our lives
  • The need to love and be loved
  • The need of feeling a sense of belonging
  • The desire to experience hope, serenity, and appreciation
  • These are just a few of the things we need in life.
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Different people do different things to satisfy their spiritual requirements, based on what is essential to them at that particular moment. A number of people participate in religious activities, such as praying or attending a religious gathering. For others, it may be spending time with friends and family, going for a walk in the woods, or engaging in their professions or hobbies. Throughout one’s life, the things that are most important to them might shift.

Spiritual needs in terminal illness

When someone is diagnosed with a terminal disease, they are forced to confront issues such as death, loss, and sadness that they have never had to confront before. It is possible that some persons suffering from a terminal disease will wish to ponder on the meaning of their lives more than at any other moment in their lives. As a person nears the end of their life, spiritual practices, including religion, may become increasingly essential to that individual. Physical, emotional, and social demands are all intertwined with spiritual need.

When caring for someone who is dying, it is critical to consider their spiritual well-being and to provide them with spiritual support.

What is spiritual distress?

Spiritual well-being is frequently defined as a sense of calm and tranquillity. In certain cases, spiritual discomfort – also known as spiritual anguish or suffering – can arise when individuals are unable to discover sources of meaning and purpose in their lives, such as hope, love, peace, comfort, strength, and connection.

This discomfort might have a negative impact on their physical and mental health as well. Patients, as well as their families and friends, might experience spiritual pain as a result of their terminal disease.

How can I assess someone’s spiritual needs?

Encourage them to express their feelings by asking them how they’re feeling. If someone meets any of the following criteria, they may have unfulfilled spiritual needs:

  • Searching for meaning, for example, by asking questions such as “Why is this happening?” and “Why me?” as well as “Who am I?” and “How will I be remembered?” withdrawing and isolating themselves
  • Fear of being alone
  • Denying treatment
  • Stating that they are terrified or anxious

When it comes to talking about spirituality with their patients, many health and social care professionals find it difficult. Among the causes for this are the following:

  • Due to a lack of training, a lack of knowledge about what to say, and the fear of saying anything incorrect,

There are a variety of evaluation tools available to help you begin the dialogue. For example, one of them is the HOPE tool, which is based on the following questions: Hope

  • Tell me about the things that give you hope, strength, comfort, or calm.

Religion that is organized

  • Do you practice a religion or believe in something? What is the significance of your religious or spiritual beliefs to you?

Spirituality and rituals that are unique to the individual

  • Which of your activities provides you a feeling of meaning and purpose in life
  • How does this contribute to your sense of self
  • And how does this contribute to your sense of belonging

The implications for medical treatment and quality of life concerns

  • Have you been unable to participate in activities that give your life meaning and purpose because you are ill? What are some of the specific practices that we should be aware of when providing for your care?

Doing the exam on yourself may be beneficial if you are confused about what spirituality is or if you are uncomfortable talking about it with others. This evaluation can assist you in identifying and exploring your own beliefs on spirituality. There are various tests available, such as the FICA (faith, importance, community, address). Be careful that many patients may not comprehend what spirituality is or what it means to them. You may get a PDF of the HOPE and FICA evaluations from Queen’s University (Canada).

‘ or ‘What is it that you value the most?

How can I provide spiritual care?

Although all health and social care providers are capable of providing spiritual care, certain patients will require additional assistance from experts such as chaplains or religious leaders. Everyone has a unique set of requirements. Inquire with your patient about what is important to them and what you can do to assist them. Some people may find that carrying out their own spiritual practice fully satisfies all of their spiritual requirements. Others may require practical assistance in order to complete the tasks that are essential to them as their disease progresses.

  • Some folks will want more assistance and may wish to speak with you about their spiritual issues.
  • Listen attentively without passing judgment or disregarding their worries or suggestions.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable conducting these discussions, get the assistance of an experienced colleague or an expert such as a chaplain.
  • Allow time for listening, thinking, and silence to take place.
  • This may involve engaging in activities they like, journaling about their thoughts and feelings, and finding methods to relax, such as listening to music or getting a massage to relieve stress.

Some people may find it beneficial to learn more about their own feelings in order to better understand others. You may propose to the patient that he or she read our material on emotional and spiritual suffering.

What other support is available?

Inquire with the individual whether they require any more assistance. If they practice a religion, they may choose to consult with a religious leader. A chaplaincy service may be available through the local hospital, hospice, or palliative care team. Chaplains are highly trained professionals who work with people of various religious backgrounds and none to help them discover meaning and explore what is important to them. A psychologist or therapist, a professional palliative care social worker, or attending a local support group may also be beneficial in dealing with your feelings.

Taking care of yourself

Caring for someone who is suffering from a terminal disease may be quite taxing. As a result, you may find yourself asking concerns about your own mortality and beliefs, as well as searching for meaning and purpose in your life. Set aside some time each week to care for your own spiritual well-being. Spiritual self-care might include activities such as spending time with family and friends, meditation, physical activity, reading, spending time in nature, and adhering to religious rituals, among other things.

Useful resources

Spiritual care at the end of life: a systematic literature review (from the Department of Health and Social Care)Association of Hospital and Palliative Care Chaplains (from the Association of Hospital and Palliative Care Chaplains)Online learning resource for health professionals (from the Department of Health and Social Care) the spiritual assessment instrument from Queen’s University is available in PDF format.

Religion and End of Life Part 2: Respecting a Patient’s Religious Values Near the End of Life

Dr. Amanda Moale works in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Department of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy at the Johns Hopkins Hospital is headed by Matt Norvell, M.Div., B.C.C. June of this year SUGGESTIONS FOR RESPECTING THE RELIGIOUS VALUES OF PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILY AT THE END OF LIFE

  • Ascertain whether a patient wishes to have any religious ceremonies or rituals performed prior to or after death, and make reasonable accommodations if feasible
  • And It is important to determine whether a patient has a local religious group or whether hospital chaplains can provide broad spiritual assistance if the patient’s religious values or rituals are not obvious.

Elder Care, which is published in conjunction with this volume, examines how different religions perceive death and dying. When physicians deal with patients and their families as death approaches, there are a number of problems to consider. This Elder Care article also includes considerations for managing the corpse following death. When a patient is nearing the end of life, it is critical to understand and include the patient’s and family’s unique beliefs and traditions into the care planning process.

To obtain respect and knowledge of how a patient’s beliefs might be supported, it is vital to communicate openly and honestly with them.

Individual and family religious practices will have a significant impact on how closely they adhere to religious rules and norms. When possible, collaborate with hospital chaplains or religious leaders in the community to provide more complete care.


The architecture, doctrines, and ceremonies of different Christian churches can differ significantly. Catholics and Anglicans, for example, might place a high value on receiving Holy Communion or the Anointing of the Sick, yet some Christians may only ask for a prayer towards the end of their lives. Identifying whether or not a patient belongs to a local church group might be beneficial, since they may desire to have their own pastor or priest pay them a visit. Christians often think that the spirit of a person has departed the body after death.


The patient may seek visits from their rabbi and other religious leaders linked with their faith. In the orthodox Jewish tradition, it is customary for a dying person not to be left alone. As a result, many friends and family members may be in attendance, and they will frequently pray and recite lines from the Psalms. It is possible that religious Jewish persons will feel uncomfortable with physical touch, particularly amongst members of the opposing sex. In order to show respect for the deceased, family members frequently close their eyes and cover the body with a white sheet.

In many cultures, it is customary to bury the deceased before the following sunset or within 24 hours of their death.


Muslims are urged to pay their respects to the ill. As a result, relatives and friends may be present at the bedside and may desire to say prayers aloud. Because decision-making in Islam is generally done in groups, it is necessary to ask the patient who they would want to be included in the decision-making process. Although hand shaking may be permitted in certain Muslim communities, physical greetings between members of the opposing sex may be forbidden in other Muslim communities. If at all feasible, arrangements should be taken to ensure that the body is facing Mecca (northeast in the United States), as this duplicates the direction in which the body faces during prayer.

When a person dies, it is customary for relatives and friends to wash the body and wrap it in a white shroud while praying over it.

As a result, it is important to identify any obstacles to a prompt burial as soon as possible, such as impending weekends and holidays, the need to get a death certificate, and so on.


While most Buddhists in the United States have accepted traditional pleasantries such as hand shaking, shaking hands with or hugging Buddhist monks or nuns is generally considered inappropriate. Some Buddhists may prefer to be treated by physicians who are of the same gender as themselves. Buddhists believe that approaching death with a clean mind is crucial. As a result, some patients, even those who are in agony, may refuse to take sedative drugs. Inquire with patients if they have a particular Buddhist monk they would like you to contact.

As Buddhism holds that a person’s spirit does not totally vacate their body until many hours after death, the family may desire to spend some time with the corpse after the individual has passed away (even longer in some traditions).

For this reason, healthcare professionals must work hard to accommodate their spiritual traditions, which may involve refraining from handling the body at this time and enabling them to participate in religious ceremonies.


Hindus believe that their state of mind approaching death has a significant impact on their reincarnation. Consequently, the patient may choose to keep religious artifacts surrounding the bed, make gifts to others, and avoid taking treatments that cause them to lose consciousness. When the patient is close to death, family members may visit to comfort him or her. They may be repeating prayers or readings, as well as silently chanting mantras, among other things. When meeting Hindus who are accompanying the patient, it is customary and proper to address the eldest member of the family as the first to welcome them.

Where relatives are not present and health professionals must touch the body, they should do so with disposable gloves while closing the patient’s eyes, straightening the limbs, and keeping jewelry or religious objects on the person’s person’s person’s body.

In most cases, professionals should avoid washing the body and instead cover it in a basic sheet.

If no one from the family is present, call the chaplain for assistance.

Consideration Religion
Christianity Judaism Islam Buddhism Hinduism
Customary Greeting of Family Members Simple greeting such as waving or shaking hands Some Orthodox Jews may be uncomfortable with physical contact Physical greetings may be discouraged Simple greeting such as waving or shaking hands Address eldest member first
Religious Leaders to be Contacted Pastor/priest Rabbi or local synagogue Imam of local mosque Buddhistmonk/priest Brahmin priest
Pre-Death Arrangements Some may wish to receive prayer, Holy Communion, and/or be anointed Prayer of confession and scripture readingsHelp facilitate burial within 24 hours after death Verses from the Quran and Shahadah may be recited out loudHelp facilitate burial within 24 hours Open communication to help them prepare for deathAccommodations for clear mind (e.g., drug reduction) Often prefer to die at homeAccommodations for a clear mind (e.g., drug reduction)
Post-Death arrangements Post-death rituals vary according to denominations.Consult hospital chaplain or patient’s clergy Staff should not wash the body without family’s consent.Family may close eyes, cover body with white sheet, prepare and wash body for burial Contact of the body by staff should be kept to a minimumFamily may wash body and wrap in white shroud Family may request the body be kept still and not touched for several hours after death pronounced May prefer non-Hindus do not touch the bodyFamily may wash and clothe the body

References and Resources are provided.

  • MD Bosek, What is required to respect a patient’s religious views and why is it important? JONA’S Healthcare Law, Ethics, and Regulation, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 100-105, 2008. Lo B, Ruston D, Kates LW, and colleagues A Practical Guide for Physicians on Discussing Religious and Spiritual Issues at the End of Life Journal of the American Medical Association 2002
  • 287(6):749-754
  • Public Health England is a government-funded organization that promotes health and well-being throughout the United Kingdom. A resource for professionals, service providers, and commissioners working in communities towards the end of life
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The Spiritual Needs of Dying Patients

Assisting dying patients with their spiritual needs has been a component of the medical profession’s job since its earliest expressions. Healthcare was traditionally associated with caring for both the physical and spiritual needs of patients in Western Europe and the United States. However, this began to alter in the later half of the twentieth century, when medicine became more closely associated with the biological paradigm of healthcare. Patients’ spiritual well-being towards the end of life is vital to them, even if they are not religious or spiritual in any sense.

Patient satisfaction and expenses have been linked to inadequate spiritual care for dying patients, whereas inadequate spiritual care has been linked to patient discontent and greater expenditures in the medical community Leading healthcare professionals have responded to the difficulty of serving the spiritual needs of dying patients by developing innovative practices and rules of conduct that expressly recognize the spiritual dimension as an important component of effective holistic care.

Nowhere has the desire for change proven more tangible than in the modernhospice movement, where giving spiritual care for the dying is regarded as an absolute necessity.

How to Define Spiritual Needs

In human nature, it is built in us to seek connection with something greater than ourselves. Many people in the United States believe that spirituality is vital in their everyday lives. However, because spiritual requirements are so individual, it can be difficult to describe them. As defined by scholarly articles, spirituality can be defined as “the dynamic dimension of human life that relates to the ways in which people express themselves and seek to find meaning, purpose and/or transcendence, and the ways in which they connect with the present moment as well as the present moment, themselves, others, nature, the significant and/or the sacred.” Using this understanding of spiritual requirements, we may see the vital reality that spirituality covers more than just religious beliefs and experiences.

That aspect of the human being that strives to answer questions like “Who am I?” and “What do I want to be?” What am I doing here?

How have I conducted myself throughout my life? Is there a difference between now and then? Here are a few examples of inquiries individuals frequently ask healthcare practitioners when they have a spiritual need:

  • What will happen to me once I pass away
  • The reason for this is not clear to me. What gives my life meaning and purpose is what I’m looking for. When I need someone, will there be a God who will be there for me? How am I supposed to live now that I know I’m going to die
  • What will others say about me
  • How will I be remembered

Spirituality and End-of-Life Care

At the end of life, it is especially crucial to attend to the spiritual needs of dying patients and to alleviate their spiritual suffering. We believe it is critical for all doctors to have a fundamental grasp of how to treat spiritual distress. Physical symptoms associated with the dying process may frequently be managed by experienced healthcare professionals, but spiritual suffering presents a different set of issues. Even the rare healthcare professional who is able to identify and understand spiritual anguish is frequently at a loss for what to do to assist the patient.

Spiritual Care for the Dying

So, what exactly is spiritual care for the dying and death-related issues? A variety of approaches may be used to encourage it, ranging from assisting patients in discovering personal meaning, tranquility, and connection to encouraging religious rites and traditions. Starting with being there for patients and developing a personal relationship is the foundation of successful patient care. It is possible to support spiritual healing when the provider knows what is essential to the patient – their religious views, values, and principles, as well as what gives them meaning and purpose in their lives.

  • “I accept your apology.” “Thank you very much.” “I’m madly in love with you.” “Goodbye.” These five simple remarks have the potential to make a significant impact on patients and their families.
  • Hope, meaning, forgiveness, love, reconciliation, appreciation, amazement, humility, and surrender are just a few of the emotions that can be experienced.
  • It is because of this set of concerns that Saunders demanded that hospice care be done by a group of people.
  • When it comes to spiritual suffering, acknowledging the presence of that anguish and listening with empathy to the patient’s life experience are frequently the most beneficial interventions to provide.
  • Spiritual anguish is a difficult condition to deal with.

To find out more about faith and end-of-life care, contact an Amedisyshospice organization in your neighborhood. Kathleen McDonough, LCSW, MDiv, ACHP-SW, HSPC Director of Psychosocial and SpiritualVolunteer Services, reviewed the document for accuracy.

Share with a patient, family member or colleague

Citations from Multiple Sources

This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided byCrossRef.

Moale, Amanda Teply, Melissa L. Liu, Tiange Singh, Arun L. Basyal, Pragyashree Sharma, and Alison E. Turnbull are collaborating on a project in 2020. Simulated ICU Family Meeting: Religious Beliefs and Perceived Conflict among Intensivists 687 in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Volume 59, Number 3 (March 2010). Choi, Philip, and Murn, Michael are collaborating on a 2020 project. Evidence-Based Critical Care, chapter 7, page 799 2021, Badanta, Bárbara Rivilla Garca, Estefania Lucca Lucchetti, Giancarlo, and de Diego Cordero, Roco.

  • Nursing in Intensive Care Units, López-Tarrida, ngela del Carmen de Diego-Cordero, Roco, and Lima-Rodrguez, Joaquin Salvador 2021.
  • What Are the Issues Concerning Spirituality in a Doctor’s Practice?
  • The year is 2021 and Ilaria M.
  • Berning, Hua May Happ, Mary Beth, and Baldwin, Matthew R.
  • Chaplains are being trained to provide spiritual care for Intensive Care Unit patients under the supervision of a communication board.
  • The year is 2021 and Ilaria M.
  • Berning, Hua May Happ, Mary Beth, and Baldwin, Matthew R.

Patients in the intensive care unit get spiritual care guided by the Communication Board, which is being trained by Chaplains.

24, No.

218 in the Journal of Palliative Medicine Alch, Christian K., Collier, Kristin M., and Yeow, Raymond Y., eds., Addressing Spiritual and Religious Needs in Advanced Illness (Addressing Spiritual and Religious Needs in Advanced Illness).

181, No.


Patient spiritual care during the COVID-19 epidemic among severely sick patients Nursing Perspectives,

Spirituality and Health

Meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace may all be found via spirituality. Spirituality is a way of life. Religion is a popular way for many individuals to find spirituality. Those who discover it via music, art, or a connection with nature are among those who do so. Others discover it inside their own set of beliefs and ideas.

How is spirituality related to health?

No one is completely certain of the relationship between spirituality and health. However, it appears that the body, the intellect, and the soul are all intertwined. The health of any one of these aspects appears to have an impact on the other elements. According to some study, there is a link between your beliefs and your overall feeling of well-being. Positive ideas, comfort, and strength received via religion, meditation, and prayer may all contribute to a person’s well-being and well-being can be improved.

It may even have the potential to aid healing. Even if improving your spiritual health does not cure your sickness, it may be able to make you feel better. It may also help you cope better with disease, stress, and death by preventing or delaying the onset of certain health issues.

Path to improved health

The relationship between spirituality and health is not well understood. It appears, however, that the body, the intellect, and the soul are all intertwined in some way. One of these components’ health appears to have an impact on the others. Certain studies have discovered a link between one’s beliefs and one’s overall feeling of well-being. Positive ideas, comfort, and strength received via religion, meditation, and prayer may all contribute to a person’s well-being and well-being can be enhanced.

Even if improving your spiritual health does not cure your sickness, it may help you feel better in the short term.

  • No one is quite certain of the relationship between spirituality and health. It appears, however, that the body, the intellect, and the soul are all intertwined. The health of any one of these aspects appears to have an impact on the other elements as well. According to some study, there is a link between your beliefs and your experience of well-being. Positive ideas, comfort, and strength received via religion, meditation, and prayer may all contribute to one’s overall well-being. It may even have the ability to aid healing. It is possible that improving your spiritual health may not cure your sickness, but it may make you feel better. It may also help you cope better with disease, stress, and death by preventing or reducing the occurrence of certain health issues.

Things to consider

If you are being treated by a doctor for a medical condition, you should consider discussing your spiritual views with him or her. Your spiritual beliefs and practices may have an impact on your sentiments and ideas concerning your medical condition. Inform your doctor if you believe that your spiritual views are having an impact on your health care decisions. If your spiritual beliefs are interfering with your ability to follow your doctor’s advice, you should always notify him or her.

When to see a doctor

Speak to your family doctor about your spiritual views, thoughts, or concerns if they are giving you anxiety. If your doctor is unable to assist you with these concerns, he or she may be able to refer you to someone who is.

Questions for your doctor

  • Is it possible that my spiritual or religious views have an affect on my health? Is it necessary for me to communicate my spiritual or religious convictions with you
  • If so, please explain.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health-Related Quality of Life survey measures how people feel about their health. The American Academy of Family Physicians retains ownership of the copyright. This material is intended to offer a basic overview and may not be applicable to all situations. Consult with your primary care physician to determine whether or not this information applies to you and to obtain further information on this subject.

The Mental Health Benefits of Religion & Spirituality

When it comes to attempting to comprehend the meaning of life and, in certain situations, how a relationship with a higher force may impact that meaning, religion and spirituality are both founded in the same endeavor. Religion and spirituality are fundamentally distinct in their foundations, yet they are extremely similar in their practices. The difference between religion and spirituality is that religion is an organized, communal system of beliefs, whereas spirituality is found inside the individual and what they personally believe.

Although spirituality exists inside religion, “just because you have spirituality does not always imply that you have religion,” argues someone who engages in both religious and spirituality activities.

In certain aspects, they have the same effect as one another.

However, because of the differences in their nature, the advantages of the two are often different.

According to studies, religiosity can have a significant positive influence on mental health, since it has been shown to lower suicide rates, as well as alcoholism and drug usage. The following are some of the most significant mental health advantages of religion. Community

  • Social connections are established with other members, and a sense of belonging to a group is developed. Trustworthy and secure social involvement is provided.
  • Helps individuals cope with tough life events (for example, a memorial service for a loved one who has passed away)
  • Structure, regularity, and predictability are provided by this factor. Allows for time for rest and relaxation, as well as holidays and other important occasions throughout the year
  • Establishes a set of principles to live by (e.g., the significance of doing the right thing)
  • It instills compassion, forgiveness, and thankfulness in students. Identifies life lessons, even in the most difficult of circumstances

Spirituality Has Positive Effects on One’s Mental Health Spirituality is a sense of belonging to something higher than ourselves; it assists a person in looking within and understanding themselves, as well as figuring out how they fit into the larger picture of the world around them. To put it another way, it assists people in understanding their own perception of the purpose of life. Healthful activities for the mind and body are included into spirituality, and this has been shown to have a favorable impact on mental health and emotional well-being.

  • Increases a person’s sense of self and strength by allowing them to choose how they want to conduct their practice
  • An individual’s connection to what they believe in as well as their own personal growth is the focus of this book. Accepts anybody, regardless of whether they are a member of a religious organization.


  • Meditation and self-reflection are encouraged, and this leads to the development of a meaningful life philosophy (such as a sense of connection to other people, nature, or art). Expression can take any form, including but not limited to artistic works of art, poetry, myth, and religious practices.

Harmony with One’s Environment

  • Inspires appreciation and awareness of a person’s contact with the physical environment
  • Restores a sense of belonging in the world

However, these mental health advantages are not confined to the categories in which they are found—individuality is not exclusively associated with religion, and spirituality can include a sense of belonging in some circumstances. Conclusion: Religion and spirituality can assist people improve their mental health and facilitate rehabilitation when they are offered in a helpful manner, according to the research. For more information on how faith and spirituality may assist mental health, see the website.

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