Meeting the Spiritual Care Needs of Emerging Adults with Cancer
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CitationSaarelainen, Suvi-Maria. (2020). Meeting the Spiritual Care Needs of Emerging Adults with Cancer. Religions, 11 (1) , 1616. 10.3390/rel11010016.
Every year 90,000 young people in Europe and the USA are newly diagnosed with cancer. The majority of earlier studies have taken a quantitative perspective, rarely focusing on the importance of religiosity and spirituality. From these premises, this narrative study explores the spiritual needs of emerging adults with cancer and suggests spiritual care practices that would benefit them in their shift to the remission stage. The data were obtained from the experiences of 16 emerging adults who took part in autobiographical interviews and drew life-tree drawings. Narrative-thematic and visual-narrative methods were used to interpret the data. The results show that spiritual needs manifest in multiple areas: existential questions, value-based searching, and religious seeking. Spiritual care should be targeted to issues such as identity, self-blame, understanding personal values, and relationship with God. Furthermore, family and partners should be supported and dreams of the future after cancer encouraged. The needs for spiritual care are manifold and these needs remain for years after the treatment ends.