In spite of the number of sophisticated technologies and improved care systems, contemporary medicine is slowly adopting the aspect of spirituality in patient treatment and healthcare. There are many medical practitioners who are already using integrating their medical skills with spirituality, which includes prayer, meditation, compassion, and even involving spiritual leaders in their work. As Cobb, Puchalski, and Rumbold (2012) explain, many Americans have over the past five years developed a lot of interest in the role that spirituality can play in their healthcare. This could have stemmed from the realization that science does not provide answers to everything, and hence the need to invoke a higher power. This essay, in discussing the role of spirituality in healthcare established that spirituality forms a strong belief in the human mind and hence influences the bulk of such a persons behavior. Spirituality is hence linked to easy coping, long life, and good recovery.
A research by Puchalski (2001) indicates that spirituality may cause different patients to develop divergent understandings and views of a certain disease. For example, some patients may believe that some diseases are curses, depending on their religious beliefs, and this will affect the way the open up to give information about their condition, for fear of being called cursed. Such beliefs hence play an essential role in how patients make medical decisions. Jehovahs Witnesses, for example, resist blood transfusion because of they believe that the Bible does not support it. In fact, they believe that people can get healed purely by faith. Dealing with such a patient hence requires one to have enough knowledge about the beliefs of the patient, to get a good platform for counseling and convincing them to accept certain medical procedures.
According to Cobb, Puchalski, and Rumbold (2012), majority of people who observe strong spiritual practices usually live long. This is mainly attributed to low-stress levels, less anxiety, and abundance of peace, that one derives from religious promises. In fact, Cobb, Puchalski, and Rumbold (2012) argues that people who attended church are less likely to develop depression and stress related disorder; they always find comfort from spiritual answers. Some scholars, as cited by Puchalski (2001) have also observed that people with strong levels of faith tend to have a high body resistance to stress and psychological disorders. One of the greatest and most powerful forces behind religion is hope. Religious books, such as the Bible, are usually inclined towards giving people hope for the future, which results in less anxiety.
Spirituality also helps people to cope with diseases, despite the condition of the illness. A person who purely believes in science may easily give up on life when in a critical medical condition. However, spirituality makes people feel like there is a higher power that is fighting for their wellbeing, and that whatever situation they are going through will eventually come to an end. Efficace and Marrone (2002) observe that spiritual patients with cancer live more happily and with less pain as compared to those without any spiritual beliefs. Spirituality teaches people to endure sufferings, pains and enjoy life at all times. This hence helps patients to cope easily with their illnesses and go through treatment easily as they hope for a better life after the treatment period. Prayer, as Efficace and Marrone (2002) argues is a technique of pain management and relaxation.
Spirituality is also associated with efficacy in medication and healing. Medics have observed that people who dont go through a lot of worries while on treatment usually respond positively to medication and heal well Puchalski (2001). One can attribute this to positive thinking that emanates from spiritual beliefs. Incidentally, even in the worst medical conditions, such as those where a patient has no hope to live, spirituality helps patients to face death boldly. Most religions in the world, if not all, believe in life after death, or rather a second life. Patients who base their life of such beliefs may not have a lot of fear for death since they know that another life is awaiting them. Death becomes painful and fearful when someone has no idea about what happens after life on earth. Christians, for example, believe that they go to heaven after death and that heaven is a place full of honey and milk; peaceful with no sufferings. A Christian believer would hence face death easily when he or she expects to go to heaven and meet the creator.
Spirituality, as evident in this paper is a great force that should be embraced in the modern day medicine. There are many patients who may fail to respond even to the strongest drugs because of a cognitive dissonance from their religious beliefs. Doctors and practitioners who integrate their practice with spirituality are hence better placed to advise patients and lead them through the recovery process. Incidentally, spirituality can either have a positive or negative impact on the patient depending on ones religious beliefs. Patients who believe in faith healing may resist medicine and expose their lives to the risk of death. On the other hand, one who believes that doctors are Gods servants on earth is likely to show positive response during medication. It is hence vital for stakeholder and administrators of health systems to devise ways of integrating healthcare with spirituality in a positive way for better service of patients.
Cobb, M., Puchalski, C., & Rumbold, B. (2012). Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare. Oxford: OUP Oxford.
Efficace, F., & Marrone, R. (2002). Spiritual issues and quality of life assessment in cancer care. Death Stud, Vol. 26(9), 743-756. Retrieved from https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/spirituality
Puchalski, C. M. (2001). The role of spirituality in health care. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center), 14(4), 352357.
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