Attending to spiritual health is vital to overall well-being and should be considered in each person’s healthcare plan.
BC Cancer recognizes spiritual health as an important part of person-centred care that includes all dimensions of a person: spiritual; physical; mental; emotional; and social.
Spiritual health needs may arise in response to a cancer diagnosis, and individuals may find themselves looking for ways to find meaning and purpose in life, ways to express themselves or ways to connect to their faith or beliefs.
We serve people of all communities, faiths, and religious and non-religious traditions. We support patients, families, and health care staff emotionally and spiritually in moments of need, based on the person’s beliefs, cultural background, values, and practices. We can, if requested, contact faith community leaders.
When faced with a crisis, people can often experience Spiritual Distress. Spiritual Distress is a response to a disruption of a person’s core spirituality or a lack of spiritual well-being. It is a conflict between an individual’s belief system and lived reality. Spiritual distress can occur when:
- one is waiting for a diagnosis;
- there is a major setback or complications;
- there is pain or suffering;
- one's beliefs don’t support the treatment recommendations;
- one is wishing for a ritual of faith.
Spiritual distress can also affect family members and caregivers, especially when they are responsible for making diffcult and sometimes life-changing decisions on behalf of a loved one or experiencing compassion fatigue.
Spiritual Care is a holistic approach to healthcare which values and affirms spirituality and faith as part of the healing process. We support patients and families during their cancer care and assist them in connecting to their own inner spiritual resources and practices.