Spiritual needs and spiritual care for veterans at end of life and their families

From American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Spiritual care is an important domain of palliative care programs across the country and in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System specifically. This qualitative study provides insights into spirituality, spiritual needs, and spiritual care in a VA palliative care setting from the perspectives of Veterans and their families. Many of the participants in this study defined spirituality as the personal quest for meaning of life. Veterans in this study recognized the impact of the military experience on spirituality, consistent with research on chaplains providing spiritual care in the VA. The findings of this study can be used to develop a spiritual need and spiritual care scale to be used for Veterans and for other patients who have a terminal illness and their families. Such a scale could then be used as an instrument to study spiritual needs, spiritual care, outcomes of care which can ultimately help to improve quality of care.

 

Abstract

Spiritual care is an important domain of palliative care programs across the country and in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System specifically. This qualitative study assessed the spiritual needs, spiritual care received, and satisfaction with spiritual care of both Veterans at the end of life and their families. Seventeen Veterans and 9 family members participated. They expressed a wide range of spiritual needs, including a wish of Veterans to have a better understanding of traumatic events that occurred during their combat experience. Some Veterans reported military experience enhanced their spirituality. Generally, respondents reported satisfaction with VA spiritual care, but indicated that Veterans may benefit from greater access to VA chaplains and explicit discussion of the impact of their military experience on their spirituality.

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Article details
Dr. Bei-Hung Chang, ScD, Dr. Nathan R. Stein, PhD, Dr. Kelly Trevino, PhD, Mr. Max Stewart, BA, Dr. Ann Hendricks, PhD, & Mrs. Lara M. Skarf, MD (2012). Spiritual Needs and Spiritual Care for Veterans at End of Life and Their Families American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine : 10.1177/1049909111434139

     
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