Saturday, September 8, 2012

Spirituality in Healthcare

I'm at a conference on Addiction Care and Addiction Medicine so of course spirituality comes up for discussion. The dominant model is Alcoholics Anonymous and Alanon, NA etc. which have a core of spirituality. But it's interesting how much spirituality is pervading medicine and healthcare in general, especially at a time when we are moved to resist religion in healthcare. Perhaps we are learning from AA and Twelve Step approaches that there is more than a semantic difference between religion and spirituality.

Tonight's dinner speaker talked about evidence-based medicine and he explained that the previous debate about using AA in Treatment Programs is coming to an end because AA practices and participation is now evidence-based. There have been enough longitudinal studies to confirm success and positive outcomes: Patients who participate in three AA meetings a week do better than those who go to one meeting, who still do much better than those who do not attend any 12 step meetings. He also mentioned that there is now a heated debate around requiring spirituality training for ICU nurses.

But perhaps the biggest marker  for institutionalized medicine though is that "Attention to spirituality" is a prerequisite for medical treatment programs that are certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation in Healthcare.

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