Spiritual support may represent a crucial element in the medical care received by terminally-ill patients.

An interesting article published in JAMA Intern Med (see HERE) describes a study wherein the authors evaluate the spiritual support for terminally-ill patients provided by different religious communities and whether they influence the care received by patients and their quality of life.  A US-based, multisite cohort study of 343 patients with advanced cancer enrolled from September 2002 through August 2008 and followed up (median duration, 116 days) until death. They found that these patients required fewer and less aggressive medical treatments, concluding that spiritual support may represent a crucial element in the medical care received by terminally-ill patients.


The study affirms, “spiritual care from the medical team is infrequent in the setting of advanced illness,4,5 an omission likely due to multiple factors.”


The large study of terminally patients quality of life conclusion

“Spiritual care—care that recognizes patient religion and/or spirituality and attends to spiritual needs—has been incorporated into national care quality guidelines, including those of the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care1 and the Joint Commission.2Data suggest that provision of spiritual care by medical teams to terminally ill patients is associated with better patient quality of life (QoL), greater hospice utilization, and less aggressive medical interventions at the end of life (EoL).3 However, spiritual care from the medical team is infrequent in the setting of advanced illness,4,5 an omission likely due to multiple factors, including practical barriers such as insufficient resources (eg, chaplaincy staff,6 practitioner training, and time7) and concerns regarding offending patients.7″

These findings underscore the need for research defining optimal spiritual care provision to patients with advanced illness, greater clinician spiritual care training, and faith-based initiatives engaging religious communities regarding End of Life issues.

See also the scientific paper linked with this studio http://bioethicsobservatory.org/2016/09/attendance-at-religious-services-reduce-mortality/20027