Spiritual needs of patients with chronic diseases
For many patients confronted with chronic diseases, spirituality/religiosity is an important resource for coping. Patients often report unmet spiritual and existential needs, and spiritual support is also associated with better quality of life. Caring for spiritual, existential and psychosocial needs is not only relevant to patients at the end of their life but also to those suffering from long-term chronic illnesses. Spiritual needs may not always be associated with life satisfaction, but sometimes with anxiety, and can be interpreted as the patients' longing for spiritual well-being. The needs for peace, health and social support are universal human needs and are of special importance to patients with long lasting courses of disease. The factor, Actively Giving, may be of particular importance because it can be interpreted as patients' intention to leave the role of a passive suffereŕ to become an active, self-actualizing, giving individual. One can identify four core dimensions of spiritual needs, i.e., Connection, Peace, Meaning/Purpose, and Transcendence, which can be attributed to underlying psychosocial, emotional, existential, and religious needs. The proposed model can provide a conceptual framework for further research and clinical practice. In fact, health care that addresses patients' physical, emotional, social, existential and spiritual needs (referring to a bio-psychosocial-spiritual model of health care) will contribute to patients' improvement and recovery. Nevertheless, there are several barriers in the health care system that makes it difficult to adequately address these needs. © 2010 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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