The Religious and Spiritual Needs of Patients in the Hospital Setting Do Not Depend on Patient Level of Religious/Spiritual Observance and Should be Initiated by Healthcare Providers

J Relig Health. 2022 Apr;61(2):1120-1138. doi: 10.1007/s10943-020-01103-7. Epub 2020 Oct 30.


According to many studies, addressing the religious and spiritual (R/S) needs of patient's increase patient satisfaction. One area of interest is how patient self-perceived level of religiosity and spirituality (R/S) influences hospital needs. In this cross-sectional study, 195 inpatients at a non-faith-based academic hospital in Toledo, OH, USA completed surveys examining self-perceived R/S levels, as well as how those R/S levels impacted preferred services, conversations, and experiences in the hospital. Patients with no religious identity (self-identified as atheist, agnostic, or no religion) were less likely to report discussions about R/S needs than religious respondents (16.7% vs. 47.3%, p = 0.039). Nevertheless, such patients were just as likely to want a R/S conversation started by their healthcare provider (75% vs. 56%, p = 0.241). Those with no R/S identity were more likely to report presumed negative assumptions by hospital staff (25% vs. 0%, p < 0.001). Our data suggests that even for a nonreligious population, it is important to consider R/S needs.

Keywords: Accommodations; Inpatient; Interfaith; Religion; Spirituality.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Religion*
  • Spirituality*