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Should We Add Spiritual Care to Our Critical Care?

August 31, 2022

Written by Denrick Cooper

Spoon Feed 
Spirituality is a part of the human experience and can be a mechanism to improve patient-centered care.

Why does this matter?
Most adults identify with some form of spirituality. This is not limited to religion, but extends to a practice of finding meaning, purpose, and transcendence through community, nature or even vocation. Although the COVID pandemic exemplified the importance of palliative care, spirituality is not consistently thought of in medical care.

You gotta have Faith, F-Faith, F-Faith
This mixed methods study used the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method to aggregate the best available scientific evidence from 2020-2022 to provide implications and suggestions about spirituality and health care. A Delphi expert panel review concluded 6 suggestions.

Spirituality and Serious Illness

  1. Routinely incorporate spiritual care into the medical care of patients with serious illness.
  2. Include spiritual care education in the training of all members of the interdisciplinary medical team caring for seriously ill patients.
  3. Include specialty practitioners (chaplains) of spiritual care in the care of patients with serious illness

Spirituality and Health Outcomes

  1. Incorporate patient-centered and evidence-based approaches regarding the beneficial associations of religious/spiritual community participation to improve medical care and population health.
  2. Increase awareness among public health professionals on the evidence of protective health associations of religious spiritual community participation.
  3. Recognize spirituality as a social factor associated with health in research, community assessments, and program implementation.

No matter if your deity is Yahweh, Beyonce or Wilson from Castaway (not his best work), spirituality is a large part of our community and work in the emergency room.  The more we consider the benefits of spirituality, the better our patient-centered care will be.

Spirituality in Serious Illness and Health. JAMA. 2022 Jul 12;328(2):184-197. doi: 10.1001/jama.2022.11086.

What are your thoughts?