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End of Life Spiritual Literacy

As Baby boomers age and need end of life care, it’s even more important medical professionals be religiously literate when giving medical care.  Seeing to the patient’s physical needs is only half the battle.  Many patients make medical decisions—such as accepting or rejecting medical treatment—based upon their religious beliefs.  This involves doctors having critically important religious discussions with their patients and many are woefully equipped to discuss faith, which means important issues are left unaddressed.  Staff need to take a medical and spiritual history of their patients and be able to recognize signs of both physical and spiritual distress.  These are skill sets we should be able to expect from our healthcare providers.  I now take the initiative to ask doctors about their faith.

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