In providing spiritual care therefore, adequate attention to patient’s sense of worth in relation to their supreme being in their life should be considered. These were sentiments by Fr .Francis Munene during a three day training on spirituality in palliative care.
Patients faced by life threatening illnesses have spiritual needs which need to be addressed. Most are faced with fears and uncertainties, the fear of death & the fear of the unknown.
Patients experience spiritual distress when they are faced by life threatening illnesses. Spiritual care therefore is one of the components of care provided for the whole person. Illness and death are events that happen to all of us as spiritual beings. Death is not just a medical problem but a spiritual event.
Spirituality involves that deeper inner essence of who we are. It is the act of looking for meaning in every deepest sense and looking for it in a way that is most authentically ours .Our cultural understanding of death, caring for the dying and health care in general make an important role to the way spirituality is perceived in end of life care.
End of life care demands sensitivity to the contextual factors that shape the perceptions touching on the care of the dying.
‘‘To be brought close to the bone through the adversity of illness, the closeness of death and the knowledge that we are not in control of the situation, is to come close to the essence of who we are, both as unique individuals and as human beings’’. Therefore the greatest gifts we can offer our family and friends are helping them to die well. Sometimes they are ready to go to God but we have a hard time letting them go. But there is a moment in which we need to give those we love the permission to return to God, from whom they came.
’The spirituality of those who care for the dying and the suffering, must be the spirituality of the companion, of a friend, who walks alongside, helping, sharing; sitting empty handed when he / she would rather run away. It is the spirituality of presence, of being alongside, watchful, available, of being there.’
This was the first 3 day spirituality training organized by KEHPCA which brought together Muslims, Christians- from different religions including Hospital chaplains, Bishops, Reverends, Catholic priests and palliative care providers. – from 20 palliative care units and hospices.