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Spiritual care is an important part of healthcare, especially when facing the crisis of advanced cancer. Do oncology inpatients receive spiritual care consistent with their needs? When inconsistent, are there deleterious effects on patient outcomes?
Patients with advanced cancer (N = 150) were surveyed during their inpatient stay at a southeastern medical center using validated instruments documenting spirituality, quality of life, mood, and satisfaction with care. Relationships between the receipt of less spiritual care than desired and patient outcomes were examined.
Almost all patients had spiritual needs (91%) and the majority desired and received spiritual care from their healthcare providers (67%; 68%), religious community (78%; 73%), and hospital chaplain (45%; 36%). However, a significant subset received less spiritual care than desired from their healthcare providers (17%), religious community (11%), and chaplain (40%); in absolute terms, the number who received less care than desired from one or more sources was substantial (42 of 150). Attention to spiritual care would improve satisfaction with care while hospitalized for 35% of patients. Patients who received less spiritual care than desired reported more depressive symptoms [adjusted β (SE) = 1.2 (0.47), p = 0.013] and less meaning and peace [adjusted β (SE) = -2.37 (1.15), p = 0.042].
A substantial minority of patients did not receive the spiritual care they desired while hospitalized. When spiritual needs are not met, patients are at risk of depression and reduced sense of spiritual meaning and peace. Spiritual care should be matched to cancer patients' needs.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, 2213 Elba Street, Room 115, P.O. Box 3026, Durham, NC, 27710, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
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Mystical, religious, or spiritual practices performed for health benefit.
A philosophy of nursing practice that takes into account total patient care, considering the physical, emotional, social, economic, and spiritual needs of patients, their response to their illnesses, and the effect of illness on patients' abilities to meet self-care needs. (From Mosby's Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary, 4th ed, p745)
Specialized health care, supportive in nature, provided to a dying person. A holistic approach is often taken, providing patients and their families with legal, financial, emotional, or spiritual counseling in addition to meeting patients' immediate physical needs. Care may be provided in the home, in the hospital, in specialized facilities (HOSPICES), or in specially designated areas of long-term care facilities. The concept also includes bereavement care for the family. (From Dictionary of Health Services Management, 2d ed)
Placing of the hands of the healer upon the person to be cured with the intent of spiritual energetic healing.
A philosophy based upon spiritual intuition that is believed to transcend ordinary sensory experiences or understanding.
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