Spirituality & End-of-Life Care
Hospice care is designed to treat the whole person including their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs in end-of-life care. This is why spiritual needs and end-of-life care often intersect regardless of whether the patient considers themselves religious or spiritual.
How does spirituality affect hospice and palliative care?
Spirituality is a deeply personal experience. For some people, it means being a part of an established religion, attending services and following specific practices and beliefs. For others, spirituality is more of a personal belief system or philosophy of life on earth and after death.
As a person approaches end of life, their views on spirituality may change as they begin to think about their lives in a new way and reflect on the meaning of life. This may make some people more attuned to their spirituality. In others, it may induce spiritual distress.
Spiritual distress occurs when a person begins to question their beliefs or when they begin to worry that their actions in life are in conflict with their spiritual beliefs. They may blame God for their illness, seek forgiveness for transgressions, or believe that their actions are unforgiveable. Spiritual distress can cause both mental and physical pain and upset both the patient and their family.
Hospice chaplains work with patients to address their spiritual needs in end-of-life care, improve quality of life, and relieve spiritual distress.
What are the spiritual needs of a person receiving end-of-life care?
Spiritual needs in end-of-life care are so important that chaplains are brought onto to the patient’s care team as soon as hospice care begins. Working with the team of doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, and bereavement specialists, the chaplain is tasks with addressing the patient’s spiritual care.
The spiritual needs of patients receiving hospice or palliative care can include:
- Connecting with the faith and practices of their religion
- Understanding what gives their life meaning
- Exploring how they wish to be remembered
- Asking for forgiveness for themselves
- Offering forgiveness to others
- Sharing their life story
Hospice chaplains actively listen to patients and can address their spiritual questions and concerns. If requested, they can also connect the patient with a spiritual leader from their own faith including priests, rabbis, imams, or other ministers.
Palliative and hospice end-of-life care views by faith.
For a person who follows a particular religion, it is important to understand the traditions and beliefs that religion follows when approaching end of life. Click the links below to learn more about spirituality and end-of-life care for these specific religious beliefs:
- Christianity & End-of-Life Care
- Judaism & End-of-Life Care
- Islam & End-of-Life Care
- Hinduism & End-of-Life Care
- Catholicism & End-of-Life Care
How Crossroads incorporates spirituality into palliative and hospice care.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care recognizes the important role faith and religion plays in the lives of many patients. Our hospice chaplains address spiritual needs and provide companionship and comfort to patients of all faiths who are approaching end of life.
Contact us via the green bar at the top of your screen to learn more about the spiritual care Crossroads provides.