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The importance of spirituality

This article looks at the importance of spiritual beliefs and practices in relation to chronic respiratory problems.
A pile of zen stones in a forest

Chronic respiratory diseases cause significant emotional and social burden for individuals and their families. Spiritual beliefs and practices may be important for people experiencing chronic ill health and facing the end of life.

Spirituality can be understood as the way people search for meaning or,

“the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred.”

(Tsiligiani et al 2019)

Why is this important for primary healthcare workers? (based on Tsiligiani et al 2019)

  • Most people have both spiritual and health concerns
  • Patients may wish for their spiritual and religious beliefs to be taken into account in their care, especially at the end of life
  • Attending to people’s spiritual needs may improve outcomes and quality of life
  • Talking about spiritual beliefs may open up conversations about complex emotions – such as self-blame, hope and forgiveness, which may be important for people with COPD
  • Spiritual beliefs may affect decisions about end of life care

What can you do?

  • Think about how to assess spirituality needs of your patients
  • Inquire about spiritual beliefs
  • Respect those not willing to be involved in a spiritual conversation
  • Ask again/revisit discussion about spiritual beliefs and wishes with individuals and their families toward the end of life
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Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRD) in Primary Care Settings

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