Spirituality in Facing Canser: Analysis of Patients’ Spiritual Needs

  • Žydrūnė Luneckaitė Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
  • Lina Spirgienė Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
  • Žaneta Valiulienė Šv. Klaros palaikomojo gydymo ir slaugos ligoninė
  • Jūratė Tomkevičiūtė Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
  • Olga Riklikienė Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
Keywords: spirituality, religiously, spiritual needs, oncology diseases

Abstract

This article analyses the spiritual needs of oncological patients. Spiritual needs are important in providing health care services for cancer patients; however, there is a lack of knowledge and experience in this area. Study results revealed that spiritual needs such as to be healthy and feel safe, to feel connected with a family, to be involved by family members in their life concerns, to dwell at a place of quietness and peace and to receive more support from the family were expressed as very or extremely important needs for majority of cancer patients while in hospital. Spiritual needs of individuals are difficult to assess due individual and impersonate and private nature. Health care specialists not always are competent to recognize those needs, and even when spiritual needs are identified it is difficult to satisfy them in a proper and timely manner.

Spiritual needs are important in providing health care services for cancer patients; however, there are lack of knowledge and experience in this area. The aim of this article is to analyse spiritual needs of non-terminally ill cancer patients, according to their religiosity and demographic characteristics (gender and age). 247 non-terminally ill cancer patients participated in the study (response rate was 100 %). “Spiritual Needs Questionnaire” developed by Bussing et al. (2010) was used to assess spiritual needs. Permission of Kaunas Regional Bioethics Committee was received to conduct the study.

Study results revealed that spiritual needs such as to be healthy and feel safe (92.3 %), to feel connected with family (91.0 %), to be involved by family in their life concerns (84.1 %), to dwell at a place of quietness and peace (80.1 %) and to receive more support from their family (75.1 %) were expressed as very or extremely important for majority of cancer patients while in hospital. Religious patients significantly more often than non-religious or those who were not able to determine their religiosity experienced very strong or extremely strong need to feel connected with their family (p = 0.001), to dwell at a place of quietness and peace (p = 0.004), to find inner peace (p = 0.001). In total, 19 spiritual needs were expressed as more important to religious patients comparing them with all others. Women expressed spiritual needs stronger than men. Women wanted to talk with others about their fears and worries (p = 0.002), discuss the question of meaning in life (p = 0.009), to learn the possibility of life after death (p = 0.36) more often than men.

Spiritual needs of individuals are difficult to assess due to individual and often impersonate and private nature. Health care specialists not always are competent to recognize those needs, and even when spiritual needs are identified it is difficult to satisfy them in proper and timely manner. Significant differences in spiritual needs expression exist considering patients’ gender, age and religiously.

Published
2020-01-05
Section
Christian Education and Psychology