Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Spirituality of Caretakers and End of Life Care
by Thangathurai, Duraiyah, Ph.D., The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2010, 279; 10280460
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is based on the study of the spirituality of caretakers, mainly physicians and nurses, with regard to its effect on the care of terminally ill patients. Terminally ill patients, in addition to physical symptoms, have many spiritual issues in their final days of life. While historically spiritual care has been available for many centuries it is becoming more and more neglected with the advancement of science and technology. These advances, however, do not significantly alleviate patient suffering related to psychological, spiritual, and social aspects. Now there is a renewed interest in the area of spirituality and people have again become aware of the importance of caring for the dying patients and their families. Numerous studies over the last two decades support the therapeutic effect of spiritual care, but these studies concentrate more on the perspective of the patient and the family members.

The literature search is based on the historical development of spirituality in various parts of the world. This approach gives a broader perspective on spirituality that goes beyond the limitations of religion and culture. Spirituality is further explored in terms of psychological, philosophical, and sociological contexts. The psychological areas focus on existential themes. The review also incorporates other psychological aspects such as psychodynamic, humanistic, imaginal, and transpersonal principles. Additional areas of the review emphasize and examine the importance of spiritual care relating to elderly patients.

The current dissertation is based on patients in a cancer hospital who were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). The spirituality of caretakers was evaluated by interviews, surveys, and case studies. The evaluation was mainly carried out on experienced physicians in an academic setting and on those involved in the care of the patients in the ICU. The results show that spirituality of caretakers has a beneficial effect on the spiritual care provided to the patients.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Webster, Terry, Schultz, Donald
Commitee: Macleay, Kathy, Riad, Maggy
School: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Health care management
Keywords: Elderly patients, Intensive care, Terminal illness
Publication Number: 10280460
ISBN: 978-0-355-30151-9
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