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Spiritual care 

Spiritual care
Chapter:
Spiritual care
Author(s):

Max Watson

, Rachel Campbell

, Nandini Vallath

, Stephen Ward

, and Jo Wells

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198745655.003.0023
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date: 22 August 2019

This chapter includes discussion on the nature of spirituality in a secular and multicultural world. It describes the relationship between religion and spirituality and the role of faith practices, religion, and spiritual assessment. It also outlines the nature of spiritual pain, and its importance in holistic care. The word ‘spirit’ is widely used in our culture. Politicians speak about the ‘spirit’ of their party, veterans talk about the wartime ‘spirit’; religious people discuss the ‘spirit’ as that part of human being that survives death, whereas humanists might regard the human ‘spirit’ as an individual’s essential, but non-religious, life force. Related words are equally common and diverse: footballers describe their team as a spiritual home; spiritual music and spiritual art are fashionable; and there are spiritual healers, spiritual life coaches, spiritual directors, and even spiritually revitalizing beauty products. Spiritual care, particularly of those facing their own death, demands the response of a wise and compassionate ‘spiritual friend’. Not every member of the multidisciplinary team will want to or be equipped to offer this level of spiritual care. But each can contribute to enabling a patient to find a ‘way of being’ that will help them to go through the experience of dying in the way appropriate to them.

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