The 'Connection Health Care Providers Make with Dying Patients

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14 Citations (Scopus)


The literature confirms illness and hospitalisation can become spiritual encounters for patients and their families. Further, it has been established that both patients and their families are better equipped to deal with loss and change if they have a healthily developed spiritual sense of self. The aim of the study sought to determine the benefit or otherwise of a previous model of spiritual care. It asked ‘from the perspective of the nurse and other health care providers, what constitutes spiritual care giving?’ An ethnography was undertaken where data consisted of field notes, interviews, records, and diary entries. This paper reports on interview data, from which themes were derived. The major theme titled their space is expressed via a new model of spiritual care. It was shown that when caring for patients and their relatives, nurses and other health care professionals enter the world of the other to determine the other’s needs. In so doing they typify agapé (altruistic love), where the individual cares for a complete stranger as if that stranger were family. This connection with the patient and their family is the foundation for spiritual care. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: <> Website: <>

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-185
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventAgeing, spirituality and palliative care: Third International Conference -
Duration: 1 Jan 2004 → …


  • Agape
  • Dying
  • Ethnography
  • Hospice
  • Spiritual
  • Spirituality


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