PICOT Question: Is spiritual care the missing link in providing health care for adult patients with advanced cancer?

PICOT Question: Is spiritual care the missing link in providing health care for adult patients with advanced cancer

Provision of Spiritual Care for Adult Patients with Advanced Cancer

Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Despite the advancements in cancer treatment using the latest technology, advanced cancer patients’ needs deviate towards the end of life. Patients with advanced cancer need hope and spiritual care to cope with their deteriorating health. (Piderman et al., 2015).

The prime focus of care in adults with advanced cancer is to increase their lifespan by addressing their psychological and spiritual needs. Recently, a significant number of studies have been conducted to identify the relationship between spiritual care and the lifespan of advanced cancer patients. (Maiko et al., 2019).

PICOT Question: Is spiritual care the missing link in providing health care for adult patients with advanced cancer

In the advanced stages of cancer, patients live a life full of pain and suffering; thus, an increased need for comfort and satisfaction of the care provided. Healthcare providers focus on satisfying the social and psychological needs of the patients while overlooking the spiritual needs. (Piderman et al., 2015). The short lifespan of adult patients with advanced cancer arose the desire to evaluate spiritual care’s impact on adults with cancer at its advanced stages. Effective implementation of the project will provide data that can be analyzed to determine whether spiritual care can improve adults’ quality of life during the end stages of life. Healthcare organizations can incorporate the study results into their care systems to improve the quality of care provided.

Overview of the Problem, PICOT Question: Is spiritual care the missing link in providing health care for adult patients with advanced cancer

Spirituality is the sense of believing in powers beyond self. Patients at their end of life find life meaningless, and some turn to religion to find the hope of living. Religion makes individuals feel whole, peaceful, and forget the pain and suffering they face. (Maiko et al., 2019). Despite evidence from research, the healthcare system does not prioritize offering spiritual needs to cancer patients at the advanced stages. Some healthcare providers view providing spiritual care as a waste of time and demanding. Biopsychosocial Spiritual Model suggests that religion improves patients’ experience at their end stages and provides hope of living. Studies have indicated that some healthcare providers become aggressive to patients facing terminal illnesses with no hope of health restoration. (Piderman et al., 2015).

Individuals view their pain and suffering as a punishment from God, thus think that spirituality can ease their suffering. (Maiko et al., 2019). Prior research indicates that many nurses in the healthcare system have little or no knowledge in assessing patient spiritual needs, which implies a gap in the delivery of quality of care. Florence Nightingale identified spirituality as a major aspect of the provision of holistic care. Patients with unattended spiritual needs develop spiritual distress characterized by anger towards God and lack of hope. Spiritual distress can be the cause of the pain experienced by the patients. (Piderman et al., 2015).

Palliative care guidelines lack the emphasis on spiritual care for palliative patients, implying insufficient training of healthcare providers. (Maiko et al., 2019). Patients report that families and healthcare providers omit spiritual care during healthcare delivery. Healthcare givers also confirm their lack of knowledge in spirituals cares, thus no practice. Besides, differences in spiritual beliefs between the patients and the nurses are a major barrier to its practice. A comprehensive study of the problem will provide evidence that can be incorporated into practice to provide critical care to patients with terminal illnesses and their families. (Maiko et al., 2019).


Maiko, S., Johns, S. A., Helft, P. R., Slaven, J. E., Cottingham, A. H., & Torke, A. M. (2019). Spiritual experiences of adults with advanced cancer in outpatient clinical settings. Journal of pain and symptom management57(3), 576-586.

Piderman, K. M., Kung, S., Jenkins, S. M., Euerle, T. T., Yoder, T. J., Kwete, G. M., & Lapid, M. I. (2015). Respecting the spiritual side of advanced cancer care: a systematic review. Current oncology reports17(2), 6.

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