Patients’ spiritual needs: the conversations that can help

This vital, but often daunting, area of care starts with talking about what matters to people

This vital, but often daunting, area of care starts with talking about what matters to people

An encounter when she was just 18 years old sparked Linda Ross’s career-long interest in spirituality. Working in a facility providing long-term care for older people, she met a woman who had a poor quality of life. ‘Her eyes were dull, she had essentially “switched off”,’ she recalls.

‘One day I found an old Bible at the back of her locker where she couldn’t reach it and I offered to read to her from it. I still remember the change in her face, her eyes lighting up, her reaching for my hand. I knew then that there had to be something more to caring for people than physical care.’

Unsure of what to do

Today, as professor of nursing (spirituality) at the University of


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