To provide an updated overview about the role of spirituality and religiosity in the way patients with life-threatening illnesses cope, and the importance of providing a comprehensive spiritual assessment and spiritual care in an interdisciplinary team work setting, such as supportive and palliative care.
Spirituality is a lifelong developmental task, lasting until death. Spirituality and religion continue to play an important role across cultures globally. Spirituality is seen as a vital element connected to seeking meaning, purpose, and transcendence in life. Many individuals recognize their life-threatening illness as an opportunity for spiritual growth; therefore, these individuals who have access to spirituality through meaning, purpose, connections with others, or connections with a higher power will have the spiritual resources necessary to adjust to adverse circumstances. It is extremely important to pay attention to patients’ and caregivers’ cultural and spiritual identity and spiritual needs.
The interdisciplinary supportive and palliative care model of spiritual care proposes inclusion of the spiritual domain in the overall screening and history-taking process and spiritual care by all members of the team, including a full spiritual assessment by a professional chaplain. Research in this extremely important field needs to continue growing.
Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, Unit 1414, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
Correspondence to Marvin Omar Delgado-Guay, MD, Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, Unit 1414, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA. Tel: +1 713 745 8190; fax: +1 713 792 6092; e-mail: Marvin.Delgado@mdanderson.org