Spiritual Care, Spirituality Same to Dying

CARDIFF, Wales, July 27 (UPI) — Spiritual care and spirituality came down to the same thing as far as terminally ill patients were concerned, a researcher in Wales says.

Adrian Edwards of Cardiff University in Wales suggests relationships hold the key to spiritual care and spirituality, which came down to the same thing as far as patients were concerned. Relationships were how spiritual need was expressed and when relationships were broken. Caregivers able to overcome relationship barriers such as social, religious or cultural discordance and share their common humanity were said to have “spirit-to-spirit” relationships.

“A ‘spirit to spirit’ framework for spiritual caregiving respects individual personhood,” Edwards says in a statement. “This was achieved in the way physical care was given, by focusing on presence, journeying together, listening, connecting, creating openings and engaging in reciprocal sharing.”

Edwards together with Hong Kong researchers Naomi Pang, Vicky Shiu and Cecelia Chan conducted the systematic meta-study of spirituality that included 19 studies with a total of 178 patients and 116 healthcare providers in Britain, the United States, Australia, Taiwan and Japan. While the majority of patients were white with a Judeo-Christian background, there were also patients who considered themselves to be atheists, Taoists or Buddhists.

The study, published in the journal Palliative Medicine, found 87 percent of patients consider spirituality important in their lives, while 51 percent to 77 percent of patients specifically consider religion important.

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