-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalized patients who
are able to talk about their religious and spiritual concerns are
more satisfied with their care, but one-fifth are not given the
chance to have these discussions, researchers have found.
The authors of the new study compiled information on the
spiritual concerns of more than 3,000 patients hospitalized over a
three-year period, and had the patients rate their sense of
satisfaction with their overall hospital care.
The study, published online July 1 in the
Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that 41 percent of patients had religious or spiritual concerns they wanted to talk about while in the hospital. These discussions took place among 32 percent of all patients.
The study also pointed out that the patients did not care who
spoke with them about their religious concerns. What mattered most
was just having the discussion. Most of the patients, 61 percent,
spoke with a chaplain, 12 percent with a member of their own
religious community, 8 percent with a doctor and 12 percent spoke
with other people.
Half of the patients who wanted a discussion, however, did not
get to have one (20 percent of patients, overall), the researchers
pointed out. Meanwhile, one in four who said they did not want a
conversation about spiritual issues had one anyway.
Regardless of whether they wanted the religious discussion or
not, those that did reported being more satisfied with their
overall level of care while in the hospital, the researchers
"It did not appear to matter if patients said they wanted such a conversation," study senior author, Dr. Farr Curlin, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, said in a journal news release. "Even patients who did not want the conversation had higher rates on all four of the study's patient-satisfaction measures."
The study authors also revealed that older patients, blacks,
women, those who were less educated and those in severe pain were
more likely to have discussed any spiritual concerns they had with
someone in the hospital. The findings could help medical
professionals better address the needs of their patients and
improve their sense of satisfaction about their care, they
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has tips for
safer health care for patients.
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