Incorporating Spirituality in End-of-Life Nursing Care

Sarah Spencer-Adams

  • Abstract

    The palliative approach to care involves individual, holistic, continuous assessment of physical, psychological, spiritual and social problems. The aim is to identify adverse symptoms and associated distress and then to identify measures to help alleviate those symptoms. Spiritual distress at the end of life has the potential to impinge on physical and psychosocial wellbeing, thereby decreasing quality of life. There is evidence to suggest that patients and their carers welcome the opportunity to discuss their spiritual needs. Recent UK health policy has acknowledged the importance of spiritual assessment. However, spiritual assessment within the context of end-of-life care presents fundamental problems for practitioners, as it is not clear what is meant by the term ‘spirituality’ or how relevant it is in an age purported to be increasingly secular. This article aims to explore spirituality in the context of life-limiting disease. It is hoped that it will help increase nurses’ understanding of the concept and thus make them feel more confident to incorporate spiritual care into their daily practice. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Contributors

    Sarah Spencer-Adams


    Correct at article publish date

    Sarah Spencer-Adams is Clinical Nurse Specialist, Palliative Care Team, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London. Email:

    Original publishing information

    • Publisher: St Christopher's Hospice
    • Publish date: 01/01/2011
    • Volume: 1
    • Issue: 3

    Permissions: © 2015, Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to

  • Downloads

Full article access

To download and read the full article you need to log in

Not yet registered? Registration is free and easy.

Register online now

St Christopher's education events

Training for Trainers

Find out more