Spiritual Issues in the Care of Dying Patients …

“When I look at a patient, in this case a dying patient, I really look at the primary core spiritual need that they are presenting to me. Is it a quest for meaning to try to determine what their life meant or what their faith means? Or, are they presenting a need for affirmation, support, and community, a kind of valuing from the people around them? Or, are they looking for reconciliation in relationships—they’re presenting broken relationships with people that they can’t say goodbye to because they can’t let go in good conscience and they are carrying resentment about the past.”

“As their bodies bend and break, dying patients are somehow reminded of the brokenness in their relationships with others and of their deep need for the healing of reconciliation.”

“It is not the task of the health care team to give patients meaning, value, or reconciliation, but to facilitate patients’ encounters with the meaning, value, and relationships that are already present as givens in the existential situations of their dying.”

… Daniel Sulmasy OFM MD PhD. JAMA. 2006;296(11):1385-1392. doi:10.1001/jama.296.11.1385.