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Med. Sci. 2019, 7(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/medsci7020025

Spiritual Care in Palliative Care: A Systematic Review of the Recent European Literature

1
End-of-Life Care Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Ghent University, Laarbeeklaan 103, 1090 Brussel, Belgium
2
Faculty of Religion and Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1115, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3
VU University Library, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1117, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4
Department of Medical Ethics & Health Law, Leiden University Medical Center, 2333 ZA Leiden, The Netherlands
5
Department of Spiritual Care, Hospice Bardo, 2131 BM Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Advances in Palliative and Hospice Care)
PDF [432 KB, uploaded 7 February 2019]

Abstract

Many studies on spiritual care in palliative care are performed in the US, leaving other continents unexplored. The objective of this systematic review is to map the recent studies on spiritual care in palliative care in Europe. PubMed, CINAHL, ATLA, PsycINFO, ERIC, IBSS, Web of Science, EMBASE, and other databases were searched. Included were European studies published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2015, 2016, or 2017. The characteristics of the included studies were analyzed and a narrative synthesis of the extracted data was performed. 53 articles were included. Spiritual care was seen as attention for spirituality, presence, empowerment, and bringing peace. It implied creative, narrative, and ritual work. Though several studies reported positive effects of spiritual care, like the easing of discomfort, the evidence for spiritual care is low. Requirements for implementation of spiritual care in (palliative) care were: Developing spiritual competency, including self-reflection, and visibility of spirituality and spiritual care, which are required from spiritual counselors that they participated in existing organizational structures. This study has provided insight into spiritual care in palliative care in Europe. Future studies are necessary to develop appropriate patient outcomes and to investigate the effects of spiritual care more fully.
Keywords: palliative care; hospice; end of life; spirituality; spiritual care; meaning; religion palliative care; hospice; end of life; spirituality; spiritual care; meaning; religion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Gijsberts, M.-J.; Liefbroer, A.I.; Otten, R.; Olsman, E. Spiritual Care in Palliative Care: A Systematic Review of the Recent European Literature. Med. Sci. 2019, 7, 25.

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