Nyatanga B. Burning a light or burning out?: Sources of pressure and support strategies for healthcare professionals in end of life care. In: Gilbert P. Brighton: Pavillion Publishing; 2013

Attending to the spiritual needs of dying patients

02 September 2023
Volume 28 · Issue 9

The care delivered in palliative and end-of-life care is comprehensive, individualistic and integral to all needs of the dying patient. The integral nature suggests a strong focus on spiritual care for those at the end of life find inner peace and comfort. This often includes a preference to die at home surrounded by family and friends. In a spiritual sense, this home environment might help define who they are and what makes them who they are. Such spiritual harmony is important where pathology is constantly eroding their core spiritual dimension, resulting in searching questions about meaning of life in light of their impending death.

The thought of death heightens our possibility of being nothing (non-existence), which can easily lead to death anxiety (Nyatanga, 2013), and later, spiritual disharmony. Many may find it hard to contemplate their non-existence and yet, terminal illness is a constant reminder of that possibility, which may in turn raise further spiritual despair. Of interest here is how people cope, and our focus is on how we attend to their spiritual needs to support them.

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