Christianity & End-of-Life Care
For followers of Christianity, death is viewed as the point where the eternal spirit leaves the physical body for the afterlife. Christians believe that life is a sacred gift from God, however they do not believe it should be prolonged at all costs. Allowing natural death instead of pursuing all curative options or extending life with mechanical intervention is acceptable to followers of Christianity. While there are many different denominations of Christianity, standard medical practices around end-of-life care are in accordance with the beliefs of most Christians.
How Is Christianity incorporated into hospice and palliative care?
Faith is such an essential piece of end-of-life care that each hospice patient has a chaplain assigned to their spiritual care. However, many Christians facing end-of-life will often wish to be visited by a member of the clergy from their own church. Your hospice chaplain can assist in coordinating this visit if you don’t already have a relationship with a priest or pastor.
Christian end-of-life practices.
Christian end-of-life practices can differ slightly from one denomination to the next. Protestant patients may wish to have prayers said at the bedside. They may also value being anointed or taking Holy Communion. Roman Catholic patients may also wish to receive the Sacrament of Sick, commonly referred to as “Last rites.” This ritual may only be performed by a priest.
After death, Christians believe their bodies should be treated with respect. Bodies may be buried or cremated in accordance with their wishes or the wishes of their family.
Each denomination of Christianity will have its own funeral traditions, but most include hymns, eulogies, and scripture readings.
How does Crossroads help address the spiritual needs of Christian patients?
While it is never easy to say goodbye to a loved one, Christians believe in life everlasting with God. When a patient begins hospice care, they often turn to their faith for guidance and comfort. The hospice chaplain supports the spiritual needs of Christian patients by providing spiritual and emotional support. This can be in the form of prayer, scripture reading, music, or just holding a patient’s hand.
Chaplains are also an essential support to patients who are troubled by past decisions or who worry that they haven’t been true to their faith. They provide the opportunity to address these concerns whether it is past regrets, family conflict, actions in the military, or questions about God’s existence.
Just as a nurse or aide treats a patient’s physical needs, the hospice chaplain treats the patient’s spiritual needs. To learn more about how Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care supports the spiritual needs of Christian patients, please call 1-888-564-3405.
Additional Christianity and end-of-life care resources.
To provide additional information on how Crossroads supports Christian patients at end of life, we have gathered the following resources: