Religion, Spirituality and Health Care
Written by Lydia D’Ross, Ordained Minister and Outreach Chaplain for Renewal at Brookhaven Hospital
Spiritual care involves serving the whole-person, the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. When you see life, you see it in all of these dimensions. You cannot treat one without the other components.
The core of spiritual healing is acceptance and coming to the place of peace with one’s life.
When a patient receives bad news, often times, chaplains are called. The ability to enjoy life in the midst of pain can help some patients deal with their emotions in a more hopeful manner.
Cook, author of “If I should die before I wake,” said “Bereavement is one of life’s greatest stresses. A study of 145 parents whose children had died of cancer found that 80% received comfort from their religious beliefs 1 year after their child’s death. Those parents had better physical and emotional adjustment. In addition, 40% of those parents reported a strengthening of their own religious commitment over the course of the year prior to their child’s death. “ [Cook JA, Wimberly DW. If I should die before I wake: religious commitment and adjustment to death of a child. Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion. 1983;22:222–238.]
Prayer can be part of pain management treatment as well. Chaplains can be included in most of these multi-disciplinary approaches. Chaplains not only help patients with their spiritual healing, but also offer another avenue to help patients cope with disease and face their fears of the unknown.