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ISSN: 1642-5758
Anaesthesiology Intensive Therapy
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vol. 53
Review paper

Spiritual care in the intensive care unit

Maciej W. Klimasiński
1, 2, 3

Józef Struś Municipal Hospital, Poznań, Poland
Franciszek Raszeja Municipal Hospital, Poznań, Poland
Department of Palliative Medicine, University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland
Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2021; 53, 4: 350–357
Online publish date: 2021/10/29
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The aim of the present paper is to describe the real possibilities of providing spiritual care in intensive care units (ICUs) in Poland. Faced with suffering and death, critically ill patients and their families need a source of comfort and hope. Spiritual care is intended to bring relief to them by responding to their spiritual needs. The literature review indicates the positive effects of providing spiritual care in ICUs. Spiritual care improves the quality of life of patients, satisfaction with medical care and even prevents or alleviates the negative psychological consequences of hospitalization. Moreover, it is beneficial to the ICU personnel, to their motivation, work efficiency, well-being and reduces the risk of burnout. Basic spiritual care that can be provided by any ICU physician on a daily basis is nothing more than the way of behaving towards a patient: seeing an individual who has his/her dignity, history, personality, beliefs, fears and hopes. Whenever disease-associated stress has led to an existential crisis, the ICU staff may request a hospital chaplain’s visit. The physician can support the conscious patient by establishing a relationship with him: by showing concern, compassion and solicituide. According to some researchers, each patient admitted to the ICU should be asked questions about spiritual issues. If faith is important to the patient, it is necessary to allow him/her to use religious resources, which requires cooperation with a hospital chaplain. The paper discusses the ways the hospital chaplaincy operates in Poland and worldwide. Furthermore, the education of chaplains abroad and the scope of their tasks and activities are described.

intensive care, spirituality, critical care, religion, religiosity, spiritual care

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