Spirituality in Long-Term Care
Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:
Last week, a New York Times article referred to the lack of training to prepare doctors to recognize the spiritual needs of their patients. Hospital physician Robert Klitzman, M.D., emphasized in the Well section article the value of meeting these needs.
Psychology graduate school also avoided focusing on clients’ spiritual needs, which were considered to be the province of those with formal religious training. Despite this, I’ve found that many of the conversations I have with residents can be considered spiritual work.
In the beginning of my LTC career, I quickly recognized that in order to be of service in this environment, I needed to come to a spiritual understanding of how such nice people could be dealing with such difficult illnesses. This led me to the book by Harold S. Kushner, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” The gist of the book, as I recall it, was that the question is not so much, “Why me, God?” but, “Why not me?”
That stance allows me to help people come to terms with their experiences and also to recognize very clearly that this could be me, or me down the road a few paces. I am merely assisting others as I hope someone will assist me when it’s my turn.
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