Spirituality an important aspect of treatment, says palliative care expert

Muscat - 

A two-day spiritual therapy workshop organised by Oman Cancer Association (OCA) got underway at the Oman Avenues Mall on Sunday. The workshop was held under the auspices of Dr Ali Qassim Jawad al Lawati, senior advisor at the Diwan of Royal Court.

On the sidelines of the event a top palliative care doctor revealed common regrets of his patients on deathbed. People feel contrite about not leading a spiritual life, not doing what they felt happy doing and not spending ample time with their families and loved ones, said Dr Mohammed Bushnaq, chairman, Jordan Palliative Care Clinic.


“People think of God as they are close to dying and regret for their failure to be spiritual even when they were strong and healthy,” Dr Bushnaq said.

“They also feel disappointed for not taking risks to do what they really wanted to do; things that would have made them happy... fearing the reaction and opinion of other people.”

He added, “They also wish they had spent more time with their families and loved ones than spending days in the boundaries of their workspaces.”

Dr Bushnaq emphasised the significance of spirituality for cancer patients and their families. “In palliative care you need to take a holistic approach to deal with the patient. Studies reveal that 66 per cent of the doctors believe that it was their duty to ask about the spirituality of the patients. Things like the purpose of life and self awareness are important even when you are healthy. These things are food for your soul.

“The challenge while dealing with patients in Arab countries is that most of them never express themselves. We need to have a spiritual tool kit that has guidelines from religion and modern ideas.”

Dr Asya Ali Masoud al Riyami, board member of OCA and an expert in research and studies at the Ministry of Health (MoH) said, “This workshop is important because nowadays the treatment of all chronic illnesses is based on medical aspect only whereas WHO describes it to be comprehensive that includes spiritual, economical and physiological approaches.”

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