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Handbook of Bioethics and Religion$
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David E. Guinn

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195178739

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195178734.001.0001

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The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter

Religion and Spirituality at the End of Life

(p.345) 16 The Heart of the Matter
Handbook of Bioethics and Religion

David E. Guinn

, David E. Guinn
Oxford University Press

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

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