Spirituality and meaning for children, families, and clinicians

Robert Macauley and Cynda Hylton Rushton

in Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199595105
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665020 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks In Palliative Medicine

Spirituality and meaning for children, families, and clinicians

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Spirituality is undeniably an integral dimension of good-quality paediatric palliative care. The first step towards being able to more fully integrate the spiritual lives of patients and families into clinical care requires that clinicians explore and embrace their own spirituality. Through an exploration of their own spirituality, clinicians may come to realize that rather than seeking relief from the constant pressures of unattainable perfection and the anxiety caused by the certainty of death, there is another way of being that sees opportunities for growth and deeper meaning in what emerges from life. Although the death of a child is painful for all involved, the amount of associated suffering is directly proportional to the resistance invoked (e.g. ‘This cannot be happening’). Once it is truly understood that the goal of clinicians is to change what can be changed and to accept that which is — as it is — spirituality allows clinicians to refocus their energy in constructive ways that benefit the patient, family members, and the interdisciplinary team.

Chapter.  11017 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Paediatrics ; Palliative Medicine

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