Why Doctors Should Start Taking Your Past Spiritual History


EXCERPT: [...] “When spiritual needs are not met,” concluded Michelle Pearce, a University of Maryland clinical psychologist and her colleagues in a 2012 paper, “patients are at risk of depression and a reduced sense of spiritual meaning and peace.” Yet according to a 2013 study, despite recognizing the importance of spiritual care to patients, physicians and nurses infrequently provide it. A report published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that most cancer physicians, nurses, and patients believe such care would have a positive impact.

The evidence suggests that physicians might do well to take a Past Spiritual History, similar to the Past Medical and Past Surgical Histories that are a routine part of patient-doctor encounters. A Past Spiritual History represents a biopsychosocial-spiritual approach to understanding illness, which may not only “enrich the dialogue between patients and health providers,” as one 2006 study concluded, but also inform what treatments are acceptable within a given patient’s system of values. “For many people, this spiritual history unfolds within the context of an explicit religious tradition,” wrote Christina Puchalski, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, and colleagues, in the Journal of Palliative Care. “For others it unfolds as a set of philosophical principles or significant experiences.”

Why has the medical community dragged its feet in providing adequate spiritual care? There are several reasons....

MORE: http://m.nautil.us/blog/why-doctors-shou...al-history

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