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Provider Roles in Spiritual Care

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Provider Roles in Spiritual Care

Mrs. Douglas, a 52 year old African American, was admitted to the hospital for end stage terminal lung cancer. When asked if she was a member of a religious group, she gladly stated that she was a devoted Muslim. At the time of my visit she said that it was very upsetting that she was not able to practice her daily devotions in the manner in which she was accustomed. She said that she always prayed five times a day in a clean area, on a prayer mat facing Mecca.

When asked if there were any spiritual beliefs that would influence her medical decisions, Mrs. Douglas said that Muslims believe that life constitutes a test by which the final destiny of humans is determined and that her present condition was the will of God so she was ready to accept his plan for her life.

I then asked her if she gets any peace and comfort from her spiritual beliefs and she explained that she finds great solace and peace in her God. She said that just remembering the great things he had done for her throughout her life was enough to give her peace and comfort in her current condition and it is was enough to take her through whatever trials and tribulations she would have to endure.

She claimed the she did not have any personal spiritual beliefs because she was confident that the practices of her religion were in complete fulfillment with the will of their master.

I asked Mrs. Douglas if she had any spiritual need that she would like to have addressed at the present time and she explained that it is the Muslim belief that when a person is ill, they might be distracted by the pain and anguish and it gives them great comfort if the Qur'an is read to them. She said that the reading of the Qur'an reminds the patient of the powers of God and his will and purpose for their life.

I then told Mrs. Douglas that I was very sorry that she was feeling upset and asked if there was anything that I could do to make her stay at the hospital a more pleasant experience and if there was any resource that she needed to help her with her spiritual recovery. She gladly said that she would like a clean, quiet area and a mat where she could pray. She said that she would also like to have the Qur'an read to her by a member of the Muslim faith. I told her that I would make arrangements to get her a mat and a quiet area so she could pray and that I would ask the hospital Chaplin to consult a member of her religion so she could have the Qur'an read to her.

During my interview with Mrs. Douglas, I discovered that she was not concerned with her illness or with the fact that she was at the end stages of her life. She placed her faith and her life in the hands of the God in which she served.

In general, the time I spent with Mrs. Douglas was very comforting to her and she expressed that she was very pleased



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