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Spirituality and End-of-Life Outcomes 

Spirituality and End-of-Life Outcomes
Chapter:
Spirituality and End-of-Life Outcomes
Author(s):

Michael J. Balboni

, and Tracy A. Balboni

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199325764.003.0003
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date: 18 August 2019

A growing number of studies show prospective associations between patient spirituality and quality of life. Evidence suggests that as physical health worsens, spiritual health holds a central role in determining patient well-being. Spirituality may enable patients to endure the suffering that comes with advanced illness and dying. Growing evidence also indicates that treatment preferences, medical decisions, and medical utilization are shaped by patients’ religiosity and the level of spiritual support from the medical team and religious communities. Spiritual support from the medical system is associated with increased hospice use, decreased aggressive care, and cost differences in the final week of life. This suggests that medical system spiritual support is an essential component that lessens futile medical treatment near life’s end. Those clinicians who are proficiently “fluent” in engaging religious beliefs may be better able to influence patients in making medical decisions. National standards have begun to incorporate these results.

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