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Health system must include ‘spiritual care’, say researchers

Spiritual care and awareness of differing belief systems should be part of New Zealand’s healthcare system and training for health workers, according to University of Otago researchers.

A study based on interviews with 24 cancer survivors found that participants felt an understanding of their spiritual beliefs helped to foster respect for patient healthcare choices.

The study was led by Richard Egan, a public health lecturer with the university’s Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit in Dunedin. He previously published research in 2017 on the importance of spiritual care for patients, based on a national survey of NZ nurses.

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