Honors College Thesis

“I Want a Chocolate Milkshake:" Pharmacy, Spirituality, and Palliative Care

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  • How can healthcare providers, particularly pharmacists, help palliative care patients cope with the inevitability of death? This thesis reviewed how spirituality and religious beliefs can be utilized as key coping strategies for many patients and their loved ones regarding various stressors associated with facing mortality in palliative care. In the healthcare field, many treatment options have usually overlooked patients’ spiritual needs, even in end-of-life care, patients are more likely to reiterate their beliefs in order to have a peaceful and meaningful death. For pharmacists, having a greater understanding and awareness of spirituality and religious beliefs is vital because spirituality has had an influence on a patient’s medication adherence. Therefore, this thesis goes over the definitions of ‘spirituality’ and ‘religion’, the end-of-life values of the five major world religions, and the relationship between religion, spirituality, and medicine adherence. To learn more about providing spiritual care, chaplains from Lumina Hospice & Palliative Care were also interviewed for this thesis. The use of psychedelics, spiritual assessment tools, and Buddhism philosophy were also explored as tools for addressing end-of-life anxiety and spiritual distress. In the future, it is essential that future pharmacists learn about the importance of spirituality and religion in patient care through the pharmacy school curriculum and training.
  • Key Words: palliative care, religion, spirituality, pharmacy, medicine adherence
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