Regardless of an individual’s religious background, it is natural to take stock as you approach end of life. Spiritual concerns take on even greater significance, which is why chaplains are an essential part of the Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care team. Addressing spirituality at end of life is an important piece of the whole-person-care, team-based approach of hospice, which includes treating the patient’s physical, psychosocial, emotional, and spiritual needs.
For many people, spirituality at end of life is interwoven into religious practices. For others, it goes beyond religion to the individual’s personal relationship with God and the universe.
Did my life have meaning?
We all want to believe that our life has meaning – that we made a contribution and will be remembered once we are gone. For some, that meaning is found in the work they performed, whether that work was in their professional lives or in volunteer work they performed. For others, raising a family has brought meaning to their lives.
End-of-life reflections can also be a time of regret for things the individual has or has not done and for their part in troubled relationships. Chaplains can help individuals process these feelings and find ways to address them. Sometimes that is an apology to a child or another loved one. Sometimes, it means the individual needs to forgive themselves.
Addressing the Afterlife
For those who believe in an afterlife, a chaplain can be a helpful guide as they contemplate their lives and what lies beyond the grave. The unknown can be worrisome, so, too, can be the fear of eternal consequences here on earth. Chaplains are able to assist individuals as they work through past bad acts to help them through these situations from infidelity to failures as a parent to actions they took in military service.
Simply being able to get these long-held regrets and fears out into the open gives the individual the opportunity to find peace. This spiritual healing can be as beneficial to the patient as any medication or treatment.
To learn more about the role of chaplains in hospice and how they assist patients with spirituality at end of life, please call us at 1-888-564-3405.
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