Spiritual Care in the Culturally Diverse Eldercare Community: When All Paths Do Not Lead to God

By Gail Henson.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 25, 2016 $US5.00

Spirituality is an important aspect of quality of life throughout the life-span. Quality of life indices, such as the Missoula-Vitas Quality of Life Index used in palliative care, include spiritual well-being in their assessment. This paper evaluates a curriculum created to address culturally appropriate spiritual care in hospices and eldercare communities that serve ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse populations in the United States. Chaplains and personnel engaged in end-of-life care used this curriculum over a three-year period. The outcomes of the implementation of this curriculum included an increase in capacity to communicate about the client’s view of suffering, death, and legacy; an increase in cultural humility; and an increase in knowledge, skills, and dispositions of working in a culturally diverse setting with the elderly. The chief weakness of this program is the lack of incentives and motivation by for-profit eldercare communities to fund continuing education and thus equip spiritual caregivers. The implications of this study are that quality of life for the elderly in hospices or eldercare communities is increased and spiritual distress is decreased when spiritual caregivers have the cultural competence to acknowledge and address a client’s spirituality, regardless of faith tradition.

Keywords: Cultural Perspectives, Mental and Spiritual Wellbeing

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.29-37. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 25, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 633.878KB)).

Dr. Gail Henson

Professor, School of Communication, Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky, USA