Chapter 3 describes common spiritual needs as well as unique factors that can shape how the end of life is experienced. The meeting of spiritual needs is essential (Langegard & Ahlberg, 2009), as it supports patients who seek wholeness in the midst of profound vulnerability (Goldberg & Crespo, 2003). Advances in medicine may further extend the time patients have for spiritual challenges to inform life meaning (Grant, 2007). Hospice social workers can support patients in this process provided that they are aware of what patients consider are spiritual needs. This chapter reviews research that suggests spiritual needs may be shaped by personal and contextual factors. Some spiritual needs may not be met due to declining health (Hermann, 2006), but the recognition of spiritual needs may also reveal biopsychosocial needs that can be.
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