Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Your Truth: God is punishing me

As I have mentioned in previous posts, nurses are responsible for addressing the spiritual distress that many patients face in the end of life. Many hospitals and hospices provide chaplain services. However, nurses cannot rely completely on chaplains to address these needs. For one, some patients who do not identify as religious may refuse these services, even when it's explained that chaplains are non-denominational. Additionally, spiritual needs come up organically during conversations at the bedside of dying patients.

Although my "Your Truth" posts have focused primarily on ethical issues, I have realized that I can apply this same exercise to just about any communication issue. So, as usual, please read the scenario and tell me how you would respond.

Ms. Page is a 53 y.o. who was recently diagnosed with ALS. During a visit with her she tells you somewhat matter-of-factly, "You know, God is punishing me. That's why I have this disease."

How do you respond?

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