Title

Religious and spiritual beliefs in end of life care: How major religions view death and dying

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Journal

Techniques in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Management

Volume

9

Issue

3

DOI

10.1053/j.trap.2005.06.003

Keywords

Christianity; End of life; Healing; Islam; Judaism; Spirituality; Suffering

Abstract

Patients with chronic and serious illness suffer from physical, emotional, social, and spiritual pain. Traditionally, society at large and the Western medical system have viewed death as something to be avoided, and the emphasis on care was usually curative. Thus, when a patient became terminal, the prognosis was often "nothing to do." Little was done to attend to the patient's suffering and to the questions that arose for the patient as a result of having a serious illness. Yet, there have been many studies over the last decade that highlight the importance of spiritual and religious beliefs in how patients cope with serious illness and dying and their accompanying suffering. Religious and cultural beliefs can impact health care decision-making, particularly at the end of life, and can provide an understanding of suffering in one's life. It is important, therefore, that physicians and other health care professionals are able to discuss spiritual and religious issues, particularly those related to issues of pain and suffering, with patients. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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