The focus of medicine nowadays has become technological and cure-oriented. In the past century, it used to be service-oriented. This change was brought by the advances of technology. Because of the advancement, the world of medicine is giving an opportunity for patients to prolong their life. But before all of this has happened, health workers in past few decades have tried their best to balance by reclaiming the spiritual roots of medicine. It has been recognized that spirituality is linked to health care.
When a patient found out that they have some serious illness like cancer, they tend to question everything. They ask their doctors if there is anything left they can do. They feel afraid thinking of the pain and suffering ahead. They fear where they are going after they die. There are lots of pressing concerns for people who are very sick. Now, both medical and health workers, especially the doctors, must tackle such personal concerns of their patients. This is because sooner or later, they will face this kind of health care crisis.
The question is, should health workers take seriously the spiritual concerns of their patients? Will this strengthen the reform of health care? Will this help them approach their patients more compassionately? If this is taken into account, what will be the look of future health care say, fifty years from now?
Spirituality is essential in any person. It helps improve your health and well being. For patients, it helps them cope up with their illness and help them enhance their recovery.
What is spirituality?
Different people have a different meaning for spirituality. For some, it has something to do with their religion and church. Others define spirituality as non-religious practice while there are some who believed it is both religious and non-religious activities. Spirituality can mean a time for reflection and doing meditation. It can also mean connecting back to nature by simply taking a walk or watching the stars.
Because of spirituality, people find a higher purpose for their lives. You get to believe that something is more significant than you. It gives you more peace, joy, understanding and connection. Regardless of how you defined spirituality, one is for sure, and it provides a substantial impact on your health. It gives you more hope, guidance, trust, and it helps you look into the future.
For health workers, they often ask on how to approach the area of spirituality in treating their patients. How do they select their patients who are candidates for spiritual history? Ideally, health workers shouldn’t wait for patients to provide this opportunity. It would be better if they may need it a part of their conversation with patients as they conduct physical examinations for outpatients as well as those who are already admitted. Health workers need to know if there are factors in their spiritual beliefs that affect their patient’s medical decision-making.
According to studies, patients favoured if health workers conduct spirituality. But even if this is the case, an only a small amount of patients have genuinely experienced this. It may be a sensitive issue, and the patient, as well as the family, may feel uncomfortable if the topic of spirituality is being discussed. However, this can be handled well by informing the patient that research shows, spirituality plays a significant role in healing. So since health workers are interested in the well being of their patients, they also should be interested in whatever that supports their patients in getting better.
Understanding the role of spirituality in healthcare has a lot of benefits, not only to patients but also to health workers. This will give balance in their medical practice. This will lead doctors to be more compassionate and be able to give their patients the whole service, including their emotional, physical, social and spiritual well being. As a result, patients can improve their stress control which can help in increasing their personal strength, resulting in better-coping skills.
By talking about spirituality, health workers can help their patients to have a more positive outlook in life, to trust the treatment and healing process and to believe in total recovery. With this, there will be a fulfilment to both patients and the health workers.