Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Chaplains Provide Spiritual Health (Hospice-Palliative Research, Music Video 2:12)
We often hear about end-of life care with emphasis on the roles of doctors and nurses. Spirituality of patients may be overshadowed sometimes by the more visible efforts of providing quality of life at physical levels. But hospice-palliative care chaplains also make positive differences in the healthcare status of many patients by providing a comforting presence during a critical phase in life.
Duke University research documenting the relationships between the receipt of less spiritual care than desired and patient outcomes was done with 150 patients with advanced cancer. The vast majority of them (91%) indicated they had spiritual needs. Most desired and received spiritual care from their healthcare providers, religious community, and hospital chaplain. Unfortunately, a significant subset of patients didn’t receive the level of spiritual care they wanted. When this happened, patients were at risk of depression and reduced sense of spiritual meaning and peace. These unmet spiritual needs negatively impacted patients’ healthcare status.
A’Shellarian Anthony, chaplain at Delaware Hospice, provides weekly counsel and prayer with her patients. Part of a unique program there that includes specialists who sing, she also provides the healing powers of music:
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.