Religion In End Of Life Care

2968 words - 12 pages

Through time, there has always been a question on the idea of another supernatural being, a greater power, or a God. People have grown up and been taught certain beliefs, and some have developed their own beliefs based on this idea of a higher power. There are then those who don’t believe in any such thing; they believe in the facts presented to them. As a whole, the specifics of this idea vary, and as a nurse, understanding of this must be achieved to successfully care for a patient. Hospitals are already known to have a depressing effect on patients, then added onto that are patients who are suffering from acute or terminal illnesses. Their pain in many ways, gets passed on to the nurses who have gotten close with them through the care, with the nurses then trying to reciprocate with comfort and support. Hospitals were developed from religion, emerging from the idea of helping those in need. Through time, hospitals modernized into what is seen today, but specialty areas have still kept the purpose for an improved quality of life then for a cure. These include hospice and palliative care facilities, which are known to support a positive outlook of life during difficult times. It can then be argued that patients turn to the idea of a “higher power” as support, strength, or a peace of mind, when facing the end of their life. This argument can be supported by the behaviors and ideas seen from various religious readings, and studies of hospice and palliative care nurses. Those involved in end of life care turn to “a greater power” for a sense of peace during their lowest, and hardest of times, similar to those in religious texts.
Historically, hospitals were created based on the Christian charity belief of helping the sick and poor. This brought about additions to monasteries and continued to expand into the Middle Ages. Today, hospitals are not solely based on one aspect in regards to care vs. cure. Hospitals not only have to meet the demands of curing illnesses, but also have to accommodate the spiritual needs and comfort of patients. Hospitals are generally built and organized in the effort to help patients gain support by having the opportunity to turn towards religion during difficult times. Hospitals in general have various religious leaders on call if a patient were to request them. They also have places of worship available to serve as a sanctuary for patients. These places are equipped with sacred texts from different religions such as the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita and the Holy Bible. As described in the article, “Sacred spaces in public places: religious and spiritual plurality in health care”, “These spaces evoked a feeling of sacredness of space and time – a sense of transcendence, immanence or connectedness in the everyday” (Reimer-Kirkham 203). This tranquil feeling can help to relieve the stress of the body, being proved to help the bodies process of healing, or in the case of terminally ill patients, helps them to develop a more...

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