22 Spiritual Care for Ill Children: A Facet for Holistic Healing
Kathleen I. Harris, PhD
Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA
Spirituality plays an important part in a child's holistic development and daily life activities. Holistic development addresses all of the needs of a child's life: emotional, physical, relational, intellectual, creative, and spiritual. The role and need for spiritual expression can be intensified during stressful events such as illnesses or other health crises. Nash, Darby, and Nash (2015) identified 12 qualities that should characterize the practice of spiritual care for children who are experiencing illness or a healthcare experience, this article defines spirituality and discusses the value of spiritual care in supporting holistic healing for children who are experiencing illness. While the medical aspects of healing are the concerns of the medical staff, child life specialists, pastoral care providers, parents/caregivers, and other members of the multidisciplinary team can work together with children and families to cope with many facets of being ill; in other words: whole-person healing. The article also discusses activities that child life specialists can use effectively to support a child's spiritual development when caring for young patients and their families in a hospital setting.
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