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‘Spiritual care is not the hospital's business’: a qualitative study on the perspectives of patients about the integration of spirituality in healthcare settings
  1. Nicolas Pujol1,2,
  2. Guy Jobin1,
  3. Sadek Beloucif2
  1. 1Department of Theology and Religious Sciences, Laval University, Quebec, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2Department of Medical Ethics and Legal Medicine, Paris 5 University, Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to Nicolas Pujol, 33 rue du Petit Musc, Paris 75004, France; pujolnicolas{at}


Background Several studies have investigated the relationship between spirituality and health. They claim the need to develop spiritual care to answer patients' spiritual suffering and to promote spiritual well-being. However, the present study critically analyses the following idea: we ought to take care of the spiritual dimension of patients. Does this interest for spirituality not come from healthcare professionals' desire more than from the patients themselves?

Objective To answer this question, we explored the perspectives of individuals with cancer regarding the integration of spirituality in the healthcare setting.

Design Qualitative design using semistructured interviews to focus on subjective experience.

Setting One of the major public hospitals of Paris, France.

Participants 20 participants (n=11 men and n=9 women) with advanced cancer (stage IV). Age ranges from 37 to 80 years with a mean age of 58.7 years.

Results Findings demonstrated that participants do not expect help from the hospital to handle spiritual issues but they wish for their spiritual dimension to be simply recognised as a part of their identity and dignity.

Conclusions Findings invite us to view the question of spirituality not as a new dimension of care but as a new challenge for healthcare institutions to recognise that the persons they are working for are not just ‘patients’ but human beings with a precious interior life.

  • Care of the Dying Patient
  • Ethics
  • Religious Ethics

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  • Contributors NP has contributed to the planning, conduct and reporting of the work described in the article. GJ supervised the work described in the article. SB supervised the work described in the article.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval CPP 2 Île de France.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.