Thursday, August 7, 2008

What is spirituality?

Hospice was created from a holistic point of view, meaning that the specialize in the physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological aspects of the patient. This is one main reason for the interdisciplinary team is to be able to assist a person in all areas of their life.

One area that I would like to talk more about is the spiritual aspect of hospice. Many times people tend to lump spirituality and religion together; however they are not the same.

Spirituality refers to the universal human need for love, hope, value, dignity, and relatedness. It is also the search for meaning and transcendence. Religion refers to the formal institutionalized expression of spirituality with a shared belief system. So, a person can be spiritual, but not religious.

Some examples of spirituality can include:
  • finding strength or peace in nature
  • creativity
  • life meaning in family and community

In hospice, spiritual care has a broad context and includes: 1) specific religious needs, such as dietary needs or practices which provide meaning and comfort, and 2)general spiritual issues at the end of life, such as the loss of hope or search for meaning.

All of the interdisciplinary team members are responsible for spiritual care, but the chaplain will play the most important role. Most hospice agencies have chaplains of many faiths that can be called upon when necessary to provide services to the patient and their family.

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