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Relationships best palliative care for terminally ill

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Relationships are the most important factor in giving terminally ill patients the spiritual care they need, research has found.

Wales and Hong Kong-based researchers looked at qualitative data from 19 studies on palliative care, covering more than 170 patients from across the world.

Helping patients build these “spiritual relationships” was achieved in the way “physical care was given, by focusing on presence, journeying together, listening, connecting, creating openings, and engaging in reciprocal sharing”, the researchers said online in the journal Palliative Medicine.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I can't agree more. I have recently had the pleasure of nursing my terminally ill mother in law at home for twelve weeks. I know that she couldn't have had better care anywhere. The support from the community teams involved was full of compassion and relationships were very positive. We journeyed together and I am now thinking seriously about a career change into palliative care.

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  • I think the research is qualifying what palliative care nurses already know. I believe in a hospice, spiritual needs are easy to tap into with patients and their families. Unfortunately in an acute hospital setting it's difficult, if not impossible. Night-duty is when most possibilities arise. I have found not enough importance is given over to the spiritual aspect of palliative care in hospital. First consultations with consultants are quite good, but follow up from then is scarce. This is reflected by the fact that our Oncology / Palliative care ward don't even have care plans to address this aspect. It may get the occasional mention as a miscellaneous subject. I would like to see this change where I work.

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