‘Maybe we are losing sight of the human dimension’–physicians’ approaches to existential, spiritual, and religious needs among patients with chronic pain or multiple sclerosis. A qualitative interview-study

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Objective: Research suggests that existential, spiritual, and religious issues are important for patient’s psychological adjustment when living with chronic pain and multiple sclerosis. However, there is a paucity of studies investigating how physicians experience and approach these patients’ needs. Design: Physicians’ experiences with and approaches to existential, spiritual, and religious needs when treating chronic pain or multiple sclerosis were studied in eight semi-structured interviews and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results: Physicians found that only few patients had spiritual and religious needs; however, they experienced that every patient were struggling with existential challenges related to the illness and rooted in a changed identity and approaching death. How the physicians approached these needs appeared to be influenced by six conditions: Their medical culture, training, role, experiences of time pressure, their personal interests, and interpersonal approach. Conclusion: Physicians’ training seems better suited to meet biomedical objectives and their patients’ concrete needs than patients’ wish for a relational meeting focused on their subjective lifeworld. This challenge is discussed in relation to modern patient-centeredness, doctor-patient relationship, culturally constructed experiences of privacy, and future clinical practice and research needs.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftHealth Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
Vol/bind8
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)248-269
DOI
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2020

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