Perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care among older nursing home residents at the end of life

Holist Nurs Pract. Nov-Dec 2007;21(6):285-9; quiz 290-1. doi: 10.1097/01.HNP.0000298611.02352.46.


Background: Spirituality is of particular importance in the lives of many older adults at the end of life. While the role of spirituality may differ among older adults, spirituality may offer a purpose and meaning toward the end of life and provides a framework for managing concerns and decisions at this time. Despite the increasingly evident role of spirituality in the United States, the spirituality of older adults has been neglected. Moreover, little research has been undertaken to determine how nurses may best help older adults improve spiritual health.

Purpose: The purpose of this analysis was to investigate perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care among older nursing home residents at the end of life.

Methods: A total of 26 older long-term care residents were surveyed using the Spirituality and Spiritual Care Rating scale from 2 faith-based nursing facilities to better understand residents' spirituality and perception of spiritual care.

Findings: Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the participant's perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care. The 2 samples in this study received a mean score of 51.36 (SD = 5.99) with a range of 43 to 68, indicating moderately high views of aspects of spirituality and spiritual care among the sample, supporting spirituality as a framework for life. The sample reported on several interventions that nurses could use to support spirituality, including arranging visits with religious personnel, showing kindness, spending time listening to residents (presence), and showing respect for resident's needs.

Implications: The results of the study provide information that may be used to increase knowledge and improve spiritual interventions for nursing home residents at the end of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Empathy
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Geriatric Nursing / organization & administration
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / organization & administration
  • Long-Term Care / psychology
  • Male
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nurse's Role / psychology
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Nursing Homes / organization & administration
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Pastoral Care / organization & administration*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Social Support
  • Spirituality*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terminal Care* / organization & administration
  • Terminal Care* / psychology