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Religions 2010, 1(1), 18-27; doi:10.3390/rel1010018

Spiritual Needs of Patients with Chronic Diseases

1
Center of Integrative Medicine, Quality of Life, Spirituality and Coping, University Witten/Herdecke, Gerhard-Kienle-Weg 4, 58313 Herdecke, Germany
2
Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 September 2010 / Revised: 25 October 2010 / Accepted: 8 November 2010 / Published: 12 November 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality and Health)
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Abstract

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 sufferer´ 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: spiritual needs; chronic disease; coping spiritual needs; chronic disease; coping
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Büssing, A.; Koenig, H.G. Spiritual Needs of Patients with Chronic Diseases. Religions 2010, 1, 18-27.

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