The supportive roles of religion and spirituality in end-of-life and palliative care of patients with cancer in a culturally diverse context: a literature review


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewThis is a literature review of the supportive roles of religion and spirituality (R/S) in end-of-life (EoL) and palliative care of patients with cancer in a culturally diverse context. This review examines 26 noteworthy articles published between August 2013 and August 2014 from five well supported databases.Recent findingsCurrent evidence shows that R/S evokes in patients the sources to find the necessary inner strengths, which includes perspective thinking, rituals for transcending immediate physical condition and modalities of coping with their oncological illnesses. R/S are not a monolithically experience for they always manifest themselves in diverse cultural settings. As such, R/S provide the individual and their families with a practical context and social memory, which includes traditions and social family practices for maintaining meaning and well-being. Nonetheless, although various dimensions of R/S show a link between cancer risk factors and well being in cancer patients, more specific dimensions of R/S need to be studied taking into account the individuals’ particular religious and cultural contexts, so that R/S variables within that context can provide a greater integrative structure for understanding and to move the field forward.SummaryBehavioral, cognitive and psychosocial scientists have taken a more in-depth look at the claims made in the past, suggesting that a relationship between R/S, cultural diversity and health exists. Case in point are the studies on EoL care, which have progressively considered the role of cultural, religion and spiritual diversity in the care of patients with oncological terminal illnesses. Beyond these facts, this review also shows that EoL supportive and palliative care providers could further enhance their practical interventions by being sensitive and supportive of cultural diversity.Video abstracthttp://links.lww.com/COSPC/A10

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