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Care of children 

Care of children
Chapter:
Care of children
Author(s):

Patricia Fosarelli

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199571390.003.0034
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date: 15 December 2017

In the area of paediatrics, one must have a healthy respect for a given patient’s developmental level and the ways that parents and other significant adults have shaped his or her views. Yet, one must also be aware that children and adolescents often have deeply spiritual experiences that are not necessarily limited by what they ‘should’ be thinking or experiencing at their age or stage, experiences that might even be unfathomable to those closest to them. Hence, one must be open to hearing about such experiences without judgment, encouraging young patients to tell their stories in their own ways. Although understanding a patient’s development is highly important in order to provide age-appropriate physical, emotional, and spiritual care, the essence of spirituality is that it transcends neat categories. Appreciating a patient’s spirituality — whether it seems to have a developmental basis or a super-developmental basis — can encourage health professionals to grow in their own spiritual lives.

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