Why Spirituality Is Important In Palliative Care

What Has Spirituality Have To Do With Palliative Care?

Spirituality is one of the facets of palliative care in Singapore and the rest of the world. A Gallup Poll survey shows that 70% of Singaporeans are relatively spiritual. The younger generation tends to follow in the footsteps of the older generations. 

Death is spiritual and cultural in many ways. Patients under palliative care often express feelings of fear, hopelessness, anger, depression, and the burden of the illness on their physical and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, a spiritual crisis is common during the physical decline. 

Spirituality is often associated with feelings of hope, peace, and dignity. These are issues that palliative care Singapore seeks to address. 

How Palliative Care Meets The Spiritual Needs Of Patients

Spirituality has different meanings to different people. Unless requested by the patient, palliative caregivers handle the spiritual goals of caregiving, not necessarily the religious aspects.

Factors such as forgiveness, love, meaning, gratitude, awe, surrender, humility, and reconciliation are important for patients, especially close to death. Finding closure is important for patients receiving palliative care, and caregivers help patients achieve that even as they seek peace and acceptance of their ailment. 

The Role Of Culture And Spirituality In Death

Culture is important in matters of illness and death. When patients request a palliative care package, caregivers often ask how the patient feels about sickness and death. Most of the decisions that patients and their families make during severe illness are deeply rooted in spirituality.   

Additionally, some patients see their illness as a punishment for the kind of life they led. It is therefore not unusual that they spend a lot of time after their diagnosis looking inward. Their silence is often seen as a sign of depression, which is not always the case. 

While it is true that patients with terminal or severe illnesses suffer from depression, reflections on their life’s decisions and experiences are normal. Palliative care products in Singapore help patients analyze their feelings, and spiritual support is critical in helping patients find peace with their health, life’s choices, and experiences. 

Spiritual Distress And Palliative Care

Some patients with a terminal illness may experience the same level of distress, whether the pain is physical or spiritual. This is why spirituality is considered important in palliative care.

A patient’s emotional state will affect his physical health. Palliative care Singapore seeks to improve the patient’s quality of life. Unfortunately, it is impossible to address physical distress when the source of the problem is mainly spiritual. 

When the patient fails to find sources of hope, love, meaning, comfort, strength, and peace, he may fail to respond to treatment. 

Palliative caregivers are trained to recognize symptoms and attitudes that point to spiritual distress. In some cases, the patient may not even be aware of their struggle until it is pointed out. 

Some religious patients may express anger to God or a higher power for their suffering. In this case, the patient’s pain may be deeper than the physical symptoms. Unless spiritual issues are addressed, treatment of other symptoms may prove difficult.  

Spirituality is complicated but very important in palliative care. How spirituality is addressed differs from patient to patient.