Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Research on Aging

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Research on Aging

Article excerpt

Hodge, D.R., Horvath, V.E., Larkin, H., and Curl, A.L.

Older Adults' Spiritual Needs in Health Care Settings: A Qualitative Meta-Synthesis

Vol. 34, 131-155 (2012)

Spiritual needs are rarely met in the health care system and may often be affected by health. This may be because health care workers are not trained or taught about meeting the spiritual needs of their patients. This may lead individuals to feel dissatisfied with their health care, which has been shown to decrease adherence to medical treatments. However, little is known about these needs and how they can be met.

Hodge et al. (2012) used a qualitative meta-synthesis in order to find out what spiritual needs are present among older adults in health care settings. Meta-synthesis is a valuable way to get a wide range of data. The authors believe that qualitative data is the most useful way to paint a clearer picture for health care workers. The authors searched for, and only included, studies that were peer reviewed, were qualitative, investigated spiritual needs within a health care setting, and had a sample with a mean age 60 years or older. Themes and concepts are taken from each article in order to develop an overall synthesis of the data from the literature.

Five overlapping categories of spiritual needs emerged: "spiritual practices; relationship with God; hope, meaning and purpose; interpersonal connection; and professional staff interactions" (p.140). Spiritual practices were religious activities that older adults participated in on a regular basis, such as praying, attending church, or reading the Bible. It was demonstrated that health or health care issues, such as hospital noise, a lack of privacy, no transportation, and vision problems hindered religious activity. …

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