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Terminally ill patients who are supported by religious communities are more likely to receive aggressive end-of-life care rather than hospice care; spiritual support from medical teams may reverse this
  1. Ingela C V Thuné-Boyle
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Ingela C V Thuné-Boyle, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK; i.thune-boyle{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • Patients with cancer in the USA who receive spiritual support from religious communities alone may receive more aggressive end-of-life (EOL) medical interventions and are less likely to access hospice care.

  • Additional spiritual care and EOL discussions by the medical team may reduce aggressive treatments.

  • Research is needed outside the USA to validate these findings in more secular cultures and establish the efficacy of spiritual needs interventions.

  • Evidence-based training is essential to allow healthcare professionals (HCPs) to implement guidelines to ensure appropriate EOL care.


The provision of spiritual care by HCPs during the palliative phase …

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  • Competing interests None.