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Professionals who treat illness and injury have reached agreement on some of the components that must be addressed to bring individuals back to health. Most would agree that treating the body and mind results in a better recovery process. However, treatment that includes addressing the spiritual care of an ill or injured person has less consensus. The emerging premise from some fields is that, in addition to the body and mind, spirituality should be one of the dimensions that composes holistic care in the allied health care professions. (1,2) [Ledger.sup.1(p225)] claimed, "The patient has a fight to receive holistic care, which includes cultural, religious and/or spiritual care." However, aspects of spiritual care are not identified easily because they emerge from the concept of spirituality, which has a myriad of interpretations. Reed (3) defined spirituality as follows: "In general, spirituality refers to an awareness of one's inner self and a sense of connection to a higher being, nature, others, or to some purpose greater than oneself." According to this definition, spirituality is neither religious expression, which is linked to the experience of external communal practices, (4) nor the psychology of healing, which concentrates more on the mind-body connection for addressing injury. Instead, spirituality and, more specifically, spiritual care places an emphasis on the injured person's phenomenologic or subjective experiences with a higher being. (4) We based our operational definition of spirituality for this study on the work of Reed. (3) Studies in which researchers have evaluated health care workers' perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs concerning the provision of spiritual care are not as common as other types of research in spiritual care; however, they are available in nursing, (5-9) physical therapy (PT), (10-12) and occupational therapy (OT). (13) In nursing, "The Joint Commission has recognized that psychological, spiritual, and cultural values affect how patients respond to their care ... [and] requires spiritual assessments and spiritual care for patients.'' (14)(p33) Most health care professionals have agreed that providing some type of spiritual care or support is an important part of their jobs; (6,10-13) however, they also have reported that their instruction in spiritual care was very limited and they would benefit from more. (7, 11, 13) Nurses have reported that personal characteristics are the most important factors in proving spiritual care (7) and have agreed that identifying spiritual needs is difficult (62%). (6) However, they have been divided on the difficulty of providing care (42% believe it is not too difficult, 47% believe it is difficult or very difficult). (6)

Sports & Recreation
1 May
National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc.
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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