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Religion and Spirituality in Palliative Medicine 

Religion and Spirituality in Palliative Medicine
Chapter:
Religion and Spirituality in Palliative Medicine
Author(s):

Tracy A. Balboni

and Michael J. Balboni

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190272432.003.0010
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date: 05 June 2020

The chapter outlines the state of the science in religion/spirituality within advanced illness. Research indicates that most patients hold religion/spirituality to play an important role in advanced illness; benefits include improved pain tolerance and better quality of life. A few prospective studies indicate that dimensions of religious coping and spiritual support from medical and religious communties are assocated with notable medical outcomes in the final week of life. Research suggests that most patients have multiple spiritual needs that arise within life-threatening illness, and that most patients and clinicians believe it is appropriate for clinicians to address patient religion/spirituality. Clinicians should begin by taking a short spiritual history and by assessing this dimension of illness, especially in its clinical relevance to decision-making and quality of life. Training of clinicians remains a critical need within the field. Conditions for engaging in these complex relationships include religious/spiritual concordance and establishing a physician-patient relationship.

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