Spirituality in Acute Health Care Settings

Janice Jones, Joanna Smith and Wilfred McSherry Introduction

The impact of acute illness on the health and well-being of an individual can be ameliorated by drawing on individual spiritual resources. Spirituality often focuses on a search for meaning and purpose in response to changing circumstances. Spirituality can act as a resource in developing coping strategies (1). The purpose of this chapter is to outline the key principles of providing spiritual care within acute health care settings based on research evidence and using illustrations from a range of health care perspectives. We focus on understanding and meeting the spiritual needs of patients in acute health care settings. In addition, we suggest ways that staff working in acute health care settings can practice holistically to address their patients' spiritual needs. The chapter is structured around context, organisational issues, spiritual care in the acute ward (focussing on practical examples) and ethical considerations relating to addressing spirituality in acute care settings.

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