This article focuses on religion and the care of the critically ill and those at the end of life. It also focuses mainly on Jewish and Christian beliefs and practices while touching on multiple other faiths and also considering the needs of those who profess no religion
According to article, for several reasons, researcher would argue that clinicians have a moral obligation to attend to their patients’ spiritual needs.
- First, if physicians and other healthcare professionals have sworn to treat patients to the best of their ability and judgment, and the best care treats patients as whole persons, then to treat patients in a way that ignores the fundamental meaning that the patient sees in suffering, healing, life, and death is to treat patients superficially and to fall short of the best ability and judgment
- Second, sometimes clinicians are in the best position to elicit the most serious spiritual and religious concerns of patients.
- Third, sometimes spiritual issues may be interfering with treatment and patients may not be readily forthcoming about the reasons.
For these reasons, all clinicians, regardless of whether they are themselves religious, ought to be able to elicit a spiritual history from a patient and make proper referrals to clergy or others who are experts in the delivery of spiritual care.
Researcher have briefly touched on a wide range of religious and spiritual concerns in health care. The time has passed when the spiritual concerns of patients can be ignored as irrelevant to good medical care.