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Examining Forms of Spiritual Care Provided in the Advanced Cancer Setting

Spiritual care (SC) is important to the care of seriously ill patients. Few studies have examined types of SC provided and their perceived impact. This study surveyed patients with advanced cancer (N = 75, response rate [RR] = 73%) and oncology nurses and physicians (N = 339, RR = 63%). Frequency and perceived impact of 8 SC types were assessed. Spiritual care is infrequently provided, with encouraging or affirming beliefs the most common type (20%). Spiritual history taking and chaplaincy referrals comprised 10% and 16%, respectively. Most patients viewed each SC type positively, and SC training predicted provision of many SC types. In conclusion, SC is infrequent, and core elements of SC—spiritual history taking and chaplaincy referrals—represent a minority of SC. Spiritual care training predicts provision of SC, indicting its importance to advancing SC in the clinical setting.

from American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine current issue


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