Spirituality has the ability to improve the quality of life not just of ordinary people, but also of those suffering from heart disease. In reality, spirituality has the long-term potential to improve clinical outcomes in palliative care therapies. It has already been demonstrated that spirituality can improve the quality of life for persons suffering from chronic illnesses such as cancer. Spirituality should be the way of life for people with heart failure, according to a new study done by Duke University School of Medicine.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that spirituality can help persons with chronic conditions like cancer enhance their quality of life. According to a review of the evidence published in JACC Heart Failure, spirituality can also improve the quality of life for heart failure patients. It goes on to say that spirituality should be regarded as a potential target for palliative care interventions in order to improve patient-centered and clinical outcomes in these people.
“Patients with heart failure have a lower quality of life than their counterparts, with higher degrees of despair, anxiety, and spiritual distress,” said Rachel S. Tobin, MD, a resident in Internal Medicine at Duke University Hospital, and the study’s lead author. “The fact that heart failure, unlike many other chronic conditions, is quite unexpected and can lead to despondency, isolation, and altered self-image” contributes to a lower quality of life.
Patients with heart failure have a lower quality of life than their counterparts, with higher degrees of despair, anxiety, and spiritual distress. The fact that heart failure, unlike many other chronic conditions, is quite unexpected and can lead to despondency, isolation, and altered self-image” contributes to a lower quality of life.Rachel S. Tobin
Palliative treatment is recommended for heart failure patients by the American College of Cardiology and other major cardiovascular associations. Spirituality is a key component of palliative care, with the purpose of recognizing and resolving spiritual difficulties as well as connecting patients with suitable spiritual and religious resources. However, limited research has been conducted on spirituality’s impact on patients with heart failure, and there are no known tools designed to measure it.
According to the researchers, spirituality is difficult to define, but they cite various definitions that define spirituality as how people find meaning and purpose in their lives, which can be distinct from religious beliefs.
The Institute of Medicine, for example, defines spirituality as “the requirements and expectations that humans have in order to find meaning, purpose, and value in their lives Such requirements can be religious in nature, but those who have no religious beliefs or are not members of an organized religion have belief systems that give their lives meaning and purpose.”
Researchers conducted a review of 47 articles to investigate current knowledge of spirituality in heart failure patients, describe associations between spirituality and quality of life, as well as patient outcomes, and propose clinical applications and future directions for spirituality in this population. There were around ten different devices used to measure spirituality, some simple and others difficult. Key data examined include:
- According to FACIT-Sp, spiritual well-being improved in patients assigned to a palliative care intervention versus routine care in the Palliative Care in Heart Failure (PAL-HF) experiment. The FICA spiritual history tool was also used to acquire spiritual information.
- Patients who were randomly assigned to palliative care had higher quality of life, according to the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) and the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Palliative Care (FACIT-Pal). They were also found to have decreased anxiety and sadness levels.
- Another study discovered that patients who completed a 12-week mail-based psychosocial intervention had improved quality of life as measured by the KCCQ, as well as less depression and yearning for meaning. The intervention was deemed worthwhile by 85.7 percent of the 33 patients who took part in the study. Spiritual therapy was connected with higher quality of life in a pilot research, but there was no control group to evaluate if the effect was substantial.
“The data suggests that spirituality might not only improve the patient’s quality of life, but it can also benefit caregivers and potentially prevent heart failure patients from needing to be readmitted to the hospital,” Tobin said. “We have proposed and are now developing a spirituality screening instrument comparable to those used to screen for depression. This can be used to identify individuals in palliative care with heart failure who are at risk of spiritual distress. However, this is only the beginning. More investigation is required.”
The findings suggest that a spiritual strategy helps the patients effectively to cope with heart failure. Patients learn to use religious beliefs and faith to accept the reality of the disease and its stages and to manage their condition with patience, tolerance, and hope calmly and confidently for a bright future.