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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2015 Mar;32(2):178-88. doi: 10.1177/1049909113512201. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Spiritual experiences of transcendence in patients with advanced cancer.

Author information

1
Psycho-oncology, Oncology, Cantonal Hospital, St Gallen, Switzerland monika.renz@kssg.ch.
2
Psycho-oncology, Oncology, Cantonal Hospital, St Gallen, Switzerland.
3
Oncology, Cantonal Hospital, St Gallen, Switzerland.
4
Palliative Center, Cantonal Hospital, St Gallen, Switzerland.
5
Oncological Palliative Medicine, Cantonal Hospital, St Gallen, Switzerland.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Spirituality encompasses a wide range of meanings between holistic wellbeing and mysticism. We explored advanced cancer patients' spiritual experiences of transcendence.

METHODS:

A total of 251 patients with advanced cancer were included and observed (participant observation) over 12 months by a psycho-oncologist/music-therapist. She recorded and documented patients' spontaneously expressed spiritual experiences during hospitalisation. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was applied.

RESULTS:

135 patients communicated a spiritual experience, as expressed by altered body-awareness, less pain, less anxiety, higher acceptance of illness/death, new spiritual identity. Spiritual experiences were communicated by patients across different religious affiliations/attitudes. We identified types of spiritual experiences.

CONCLUSION:

The occurrence of spiritual experiences seems to be frequent and associated with profound, powerful reactions. Our results indicate that experienced-based spiritual care may complement current needs-based approaches.

KEYWORDS:

connectedness; empathy; music therapy; mysticism; palliative care; spiritual care; spirituality; transcendence

PMID:
24259402
DOI:
10.1177/1049909113512201
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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