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“Other people may become extremely angry and upset, questioning what they have done to cause this and why it is happening, and asking ‘How could a caring, loving god do this to me?
’ “Then they really go through that crisis of faith and that may leave them feeling angry and totally empty in terms of having nothing to hold on to.” Mr Allsop says when religion is the source of great distress, some people benefit from connecting with someone who shares a deep understanding of their faith.
While for some people the two concepts overlap, for others there is a significant distinction.
“Religion is for many people one of the ways they might conceptualise and experience their spirituality.
Existential or spiritual pain can cause great distress, which is why psychological, social and spiritual care is such an important part of palliative care.
So how does spiritual care differ from pastoral care and what issues tend to distress us in our dying days?
For many more, religion may have no place in their spiritual world view at all.
Print this page 6 December 2016 By Heather Wiseman Being reminded of the value they have added to others through relationships can help people trying to reconcile their life's achievements.
There is a form of suffering at the end of life that has nothing to do with physical pain.
Mr Allsop has worked with many dying people who derive enormous joy and meaning from their connections with others, their community and activities they enjoy.
“So some people who are walkers or hikers derive their meaning and spiritual peace from that.
It is important to be able to understand that and facilitate those connections, so people don’t become disconnected and isolated from the experience, and it can continue to give their life meaning.” They may not be well enough to hike, but they may enjoy being outside in the fresh air, telling stories about past hikes, or looking at photographs of their previous adventures.