Tags: patient | spiritual | needs | unmet | doctor

Many Doctors Fail to Address Patients' Spiritual Needs

Thursday, 13 Aug 2015 12:49 PM

Terminally ill patients with strong religious or spiritual lives tend to live better and longer, multiple studies have shown. But many doctors can feel unprepared to discuss the topic and address those patient needs.

So says a leading mental health expert in a new article in The New York Times.

Robert Klitzman, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, notes many medical schools provide only a single lecture on the psychological aspects of end-of-life care — often involving a chaplain who discusses how religion can be important to patients.

“Religion was never discussed in my medical training. In medical school, a priest maintained a small lounge, providing coffee and tea, where students could sometimes drop in to get coffee, but that was wholly optional, and most students never did so,” he notes.

“Yet studies have documented the importance of religion and spirituality to many patients. Seventy percent of dying patients want their doctor to ask them about their religious beliefs. Religious beliefs also often affect patients’ wishes when it comes to choosing aggressive end-of-life treatment or palliative care.”

Dr. Klitzman notes that the Joint Commission, which accredits healthcare organizations, has decreed that healthcare providers “receive training on the value of spiritual assessment.” But many doctors feel unprepared to discuss the issue with their patients.

In one recent study, 62 percent of doctors surveyed felt their spiritual training was inadequate; 73 percent didn’t have enough time to provide spiritual care; and 48 percent felt uncomfortable talking about these topics with patients whose views differed from their own.

“Still, most medical schools deans do not think more education about spirituality is needed, even if time and resources were available,” Dr. Klitzman says.

“Unfortunately, countless patients feel uncomfortable broaching these topics with their doctors. And most physicians still never raise it.”

© 2017 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
Health-News
Terminally ill patients with strong spiritual belief tend to live better and longer, but many doctors can feel unprepared to discuss the topic and address those patient needs.
patient, spiritual, needs, unmet, doctor
299
2015-49-13
Thursday, 13 Aug 2015 12:49 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved