Religious health care essay

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Spirituality As An Important Aspect Of A Patient 's Recovery

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Download PDF Download. Author links open overlay panel Jeff Levin. Under a Creative Commons license. Abstract Interconnections between the faith-based and medical sectors are multifaceted and have existed for centuries, including partnerships that have evolved over the past several decades in the U. Although they agree that spiritual interventions can be important components of treatment with more disturbed patients after somatic therapies have been instituted, they specifically state that spiritual interventions are contraindicated in patients who are delusional or psychotic.

Values are ideals or beliefs that are important to people and that in large part determine how they will act and behave. Family background, peer interaction throughout the lifespan, and secular and religious education influence values and ways of thinking Boehnlein, Values help us make decisions and influence our behavior.

An Analysis of the Field of Spirituality, Religion, and Health, by David J. Hufford | Metanexus

Nurses and other healthcare providers do not enter into a clinical situation as blank slates. Rather, they come with assumptions, preconceived ideas, and worldviews that make them most comfortable within prescribed boundaries and familiar surroundings. While values can drive behaviors toward others in important and productive ways, they also can be unproductive and sometimes damaging when they result in intolerance, prejudice, bigotry, or demonization of those who do not hold similar values.

Thus, nurses and other healthcare providers must develop an awareness of the influence of their values on their identity and professional life. Clarifying values is about discovering what people believe and what is important to them. It also involves becoming more conscious of what they value and how it might influence their attitudes and behaviors in clinical settings. Values clarification and self-awareness go hand in hand. Self-awareness allows healthcare providers to act from their own spiritual or cultural perspectives, while taking care not to impose these values on others.


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The nursing literature contains many different views on the topic of spiritual assessment and intervention. As mentioned above, however, the research literature on the benefits of spiritual and religious involvement is inconclusive, and nursing studies substantiating benefits of nursing interventions is sparse in the psychiatric literature Stuart, Therefore, what should nurses do?

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They certainly should approach patients holistically as beings that are more than the sum of their parts. They should acknowledge and respect the spiritual lives of patients, and always keep interventions patient-centered. As patients express a desire for greater attention to spiritual issues in their care, structured collaborations can assist in providing those with mental health problems the balanced and holistic approach that they seek, but which is not always available to them. Acknowledging the spiritual lives of patients may involve asking about that aspect of their lives when taking a history.

pierreducalvet.ca/183854.php A spiritual history is not appropriate for every patient. Some practitioners suggest four simple questions that might be asked of seriously ill patients:. The nurse can preface these questions by explaining that such information is important in planning for support services in the event that the patient develops a serious health problem Astrow et al, Knowledge of spiritual and religious coping practices can inform patient intervention.

Richards and Bergin differentiate between religious and spiritual interventions on the basis of structure. Religious interventions are more structured, denominational, external, cognitive, ritualistic, and public, whereas spiritual interventions are more ecumenical, cross-cultural, internal, affective, transcendent, and experiential. Because religion and spirituality are interrelated so closely in the healthcare literature, however, no distinction between the two is made in this section.

Moreover, all strategies discussed later can be either ecumenical or denominational. Interventions should be agreed upon in partnership with patients. People report that prayer is a powerful form of coping that helps them physically and mentally. Fifty-seven percent of Americans report praying daily Boehnlein, Prayer is a kind of communication or conversation with a power that is recognized as divine.

Prayer is practiced by all Western theistic religions and several of the Eastern traditions e. Prayer may differ in form and content from religion to religion. Whether nurses should join their patients in prayer if they ask is a personal choice. The nursing literature has addressed the subject of nurses praying with their patient with respect to its ethical or legal implications.

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One ethicist cautions, however, that the prayer should be led by an identified religious leader distinct from the medical team whenever possible so as to avoid even an appearance of religious coercion Dagi, Moreover, Kaufmann counsels that prayer as an adjunct to appropriate treatment might seem innocuous at first blush but that praying with vulnerable patients could create a new source of liability if patients see themselves as being influenced unduly by practitioners.

Bibliotherapy involves the use of literature to help patients gain insight into feelings and behavior and learn new ways to cope with difficult situations. All major world religious traditions have some type of text or writing that their followers view as holy and that they use as a source of comfort, insight, wisdom, and guidance Nigosian, The stories and narratives in these writings can be a solace and inspiration for patients.

Contemplation and meditation are types of mental exercises that involve calmly limiting thought and attention. All forms of contemplation involve isolation from distracting environmental noise, active focusing or repetition of thoughts or a word mantra , muscle relaxation, release, and a surrender of control. Guided imagery is a popular form of meditation that uses visualization and can be augmented by music and voice on cassette tapes or CDs.

If You Really Care About Putting Patients Before Religion, You Should Care About Re

Some forms of Eastern meditation may be viewed in an unfavorable way by Christian patients McLemore, Moreover, contemplation and meditation may not be appropriate as interventions in patients with disorders that have paranoid ideation who may believe that their minds are being controlled. The process of repentance can be intensely painful for patients. Forgiveness and repentance in psychiatric settings should be interventions that are within the purview of a pastoral counselor or clergyperson Latovich, All major religious traditions encourage their followers to engage in private and public acts of worship.

Worship is the devotion accorded to a higher power or deity, and rituals are the ceremonies, rites, or acts such as prayer; singing hymns; fasting or abstaining from food, water, or sexual relations; and partaking of sacramental emblems. They facilitate their commitment or recommitment to a spiritual or moral life, offer penitence, offer settings and opportunities for solidarity with others, and provide for spiritual enlightenment Smart, Nurses should make certain that patients who wish to worship are given the opportunity to do so.

Richards and Bergin caution that professional service providers should be careful about participating with patients in worship or ritual because of potential role boundary confusion.