The Heart of the Matter

David E. Guinn

Edited by David E. Guinn

in Handbook of Bioethics and Religion

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178739
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784943 | DOI:
 The Heart of the Matter

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Concerns about caregivers providing religious or spiritual care arise, in large part, out of a misunderstanding about religion and spirituality and what those terms really mean. Many people treat religion and spirituality as special and unique. This chapter argues that religion and spirituality are basic human facts as inseparable from what it means to be human in the same way as our sex, our age, our ethnicity or the other social and cultural factors that caregivers routinely address. The chapter begins by offering a functionalist definition of religion and spirituality. It then examines research on the needs of patients at the end of life and suggests how these express religious and spiritual concerns. Finally, it offers guidelines as to how the caregiver may meet those needs of a patient.

Keywords: caregivers; spiritual care; spirituality; religion; patients

Chapter.  5958 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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