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Goldsmiths - University of London

Religious Literacy in End of Life Care: Challenges and Controversies

Pentaris, Panagiotis. 2016. Religious Literacy in End of Life Care: Challenges and Controversies. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis explores the challenges and controversies that healthcare professionals who work in death and dying settings face when working with service users with religion, belief, and spiritual identities. The secular-minded modern history of the nation has left people precarious of religion and belief, lacking religious literacy (i.e. the ability to talk about it) (Dinham & Francis 2015). Religious literacy is a contested concept which is used as a lens through which this thesis is framed. The study was undertaken in hospices while it reports on data from a triangulation method, including participant observation, interviewing, and focus groups.

Healthcare professionals appear to have lost the ability to engage adequately with religion, belief, and spiritual identities of service users. Religion and belief have been approached as problems to be solved, rather than aspects to engage with. Solutions to deal with the religiously diverse service user population include equality and diversity laws that underpin respectful and non-judgmental attitudes, yet mask inclusivity with neutrality. Findings show that healthcare professionals are ambivalent toward discussing religion and belief related issues while the preference is to signpost service users to religious leaders or communities. Additionally, hospice organisations are currently undergoing many and various changes that are often washed down to professional practitioners. The changes include the removal of religious adornments from within the space, as well as amendments in relation to language on signs. The space is more like the portrayal of a largely secular nation that lacks proper abilities to engage with religion and belief.

This study is merely opening up the dialogue in end of life care about adequate accommodation of religion, belief, and spiritual identities of service users in professional practice. This is paramount in order to fulfil requirements toward a fundamental aspect of hospice care; comforting service users from a holistic approach, beyond the bio-medical.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00018797

Additional Information:

Title page uploaded separately.

Keywords:

End of life, spiritual care, religion, belief, hospice, dying

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Faiths and Civil Society

Date:

30 June 2016

Item ID:

18797

Date Deposited:

04 Aug 2016 14:39

Last Modified:

27 Jul 2018 14:32

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/18797

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