Quick Consults


    Spirituality

    As your question suggests, some patients believe or intuitively sense that illness has a spiritual as well as a physical dimension. For them, receiving medical care is part of a bigger picture that involves their spirituality and/or religious faith. As they face the anxiety of a life-limiting illness, patients may turn to familiar spiritual... read more...
    No matter what your patient has done in her life, she can create a legacy. She can gain a place in the hearts and memories of people if she weaves love, gratitude and forgiveness into the last chapter of her life story. This is the simple, yet profound, wisdom that comes from Dr. Ira Byock’s identification of the four statements that matter... read more...
    Your patient is carrying a double burden – his health problems and his self-blame for not being healed. It may be that his sense of failure about not being healed is reinforced by members of his family or faith community who believe that prayers offered in deep faith will be answered. As his prayers for healing go unanswered, he may also feel... read more...
    Pain and symptom management are central to end-of-life care . When a patient does not allow us to do all we can to control symptoms, it can be very unsettling. We may feel frustrated in witnessing suffering that seems unnecessary and have difficulty understanding why the patient is not willing to receive what we have to offer. Often we use... read more...
    Death and dying often elicit a heightened awareness of the importance of spirituality in patients, families and health care professionals. Caring for dying people and their families may offer opportunities to help them find meaning, love, hope and peace in the midst of very difficult circumstances. With these opportunities comes the responsibility... read more...
    Your question indicates sensitivity and recognition of the important role the patient’s religion plays in her illness experience ― an essential component of spiritual care at the end of life, in and of itself. Your sense of inadequacy in addressing spiritual and religious issues is common among health care professionals, even among spiritual... read more...
    Attending to the spiritual struggles and needs of patients and families is part of palliative care philosophy and practice. Clearly, you have spirituality on your radar as you care for patients and have integrated it into your practice. Your comfort in opening up conversations with patients about their spiritual perspectives and religious... read more...
    Your patient clearly has a lot to live for and wants to live well in spite of her health issues. She does not see palliative care as an opportunity to improve her quality of life and physical comfort, but rather as a sign that she has given up and lost hope. She continues to cling to hope for a cure although this appears medically impossible. read more...
    When patients are uncomfortable or in distress, even though their physical symptoms are well controlled, they may be experiencing spiritual pain . Spiritual pain is often experienced in the midst of a life-limiting illness and is “a great mimicker, often presenting as physical pain, anxiety or depression , anorexia , insomnia or shortness... read more...
    Assessing and responding to the spiritual needs of patients and families are important aspects of person-centred, comprehensive palliative care. However, hospice palliative care programs and settings vary widely in their spiritual care resources. Ideally, every palliative care team should include a certified spiritual care provider (i. e.,... read more...