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Medicineworld.org: Terminal cancer patients' spiritual needs

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Terminal cancer patients' spiritual needs




In a newly released study of terminally ill cancer patients, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found support of patients' spiritual needs by the medical team is linked to greater use of hospice, less aggressive care, and greater quality of life near death. The study is published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology on its web site and later will be published in a print edition.

"Recent research has shown that religion and spirituality are major sources of comfort and support for patients confronting advanced disease," says the study's senior author, Tracy Balboni, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber. "Our findings indicate that patients whose spiritual needs are supported by their medical team, including doctors, nurses and chaplains, have better quality of life near death and receive less aggressive medical care at the end of life".



Terminal cancer patients' spiritual needs

The study involved 343 incurable cancer patients at hospital and cancer centers around the country. Participants were interviewed about their means of coping with their illness, the degree to which their spiritual needs were met by the medical team and their preferences regarding end-of-life therapy. Investigators then tracked each patient's course of care during the remainder of his or her life.

The scientists observed that patients whose spiritual needs were largely or completely supported by the medical team were likely to transition to hospice care at the end of life. Additionally, among patients relying on their religious beliefs to cope with their illness, spiritual support reduced their risk of receiving aggressive medical interventions at the end of life. Support of patients' spiritual needs by the medical team was also linked to better patient well-being at the end of life, with scores on average being 28 percent higher among those receiving spiritual support.

"Our findings suggest that spiritual care from the medical system has important ramifications for patients at the end of life, including helping them transition to comfort-focused care and improving their well-being near death," said Balboni. "Furthermore, they highlight the need to educate medical caregivers in being attentive to the frequent role of religion and spirituality in patients' coping with advanced illness and importance of integrating pastoral care into multidisciplinary medical teams".


Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
In a newly released study of terminally ill cancer patients, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found support of patients' spiritual needs by the medical team is linked to greater use of hospice, less aggressive care, and greater quality of life near death. The study is published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology on its web site and later will be published in a print edition.

Medicineworld.org: Terminal cancer patients' spiritual needs

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