Exploring the Meaning and Role of Spirituality in HIV AIDS Patients Thesis

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Spirituality and HIV / AIDS

Exploring the meaning and role of Spirituality in HIV / AIDS patients

However, recent trends in medical treatment are placing an increasing emphasis on the connection between healing of the body and healing of the mind. This is especially true for diseases that have life-limiting characteristics, such as HIV / AIDS. As a result of these trends, literature regarding the necessity and affects of spirituality and religion of the quality of life of these patients is becoming a part of scholarly research. This topic was chosen due to my belief that spirituality and attention to the mental needs of the patient are an important part of the healing process. I wish to explore this research topic so that I can improve my own techniques of patient care in the future. This research review will explore the state of the topic in relation to the healthcare outcome of HIV / AIDS patients. It will summarize and explore scholarly research into this topic area.

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The topic of spirituality and religion and its role in patient care is just beginning to emerge in journal articles. The earliest articles on this topic were primarily concerned about how the mental state of the patient affects the clinical outcome of the patient. However, more recent trends in scholarly research into the area reveals a trend towards studying and defining quality of life for HIV / AIDS patients. This area of research is in its early stages. As such, much of the research focuses on defining the meanings of spiritually and how they can be applied to the healthcare profession in a non-biased way. Research is beginning to emerge that highlights the importance of spiritual issues as an integral part of nursing care to help improve the quality of life for patients with terminal illnesses. The following will explore several of the most recent topics concerning spiritually and HIV / AIDS patients.


TOPIC: Thesis on Exploring the Meaning and Role of Spirituality in HIV AIDS Patients Assignment

The first set of research studies attempts to define research methods and develop an operative definition of spiritually that can be used for research into spirituality and care of HIV / AIDS patients. This is an important step for future research into the topic area. Many of these studies used qualitative and comparative methods as their chosen methodology. This is largely due to the subject matter and the need to define it in non-numerical terms . Qualitative methods were an appropriate choice for this group of research studies, as it attempts to explore the many topic areas that could be included in this area. This method provided the flexibility needed to explore meanings that go beyond the anticipated outcome.

Spirituality represents and important aspect of life for persons with potential life-shortening illnesses, such as HIV / AIDS. Using content analysis, responses from both those with HIV and healthy adults were compared. The sample population consisted of three groups, two test groups and one control group. Content analysis of the responses of these three groups revealed six emergent themes in the content: spiritual belief in God, Spirituality as a source of help, spirituality as a source, spirituality expressed through actions such as prayer or meditation, God is present and giving, and spirituality as one's essence or center (Tuck & Thinganjana, 2007). Various definitions of spirituality emerged in the responses. Qualitative studies focused on definition.

An exploration of demographic factors and their relationship to the importance placed on religious and spiritual matters among HIV patients found that religion and spirituality were important issues to a majority of the patients (Lorenz, Hays, & Shapiro et. al, 2005). Certain demographic groups reported a higher importance of religious or spiritual matters than others, such as those that were over 45 years of age, or those with a higher educational level. This longitudinal study used a quantitative survey approach. The results were directly related to the hypothesis and goals of the study. This research study had excellent external validity, as the sample size was large and consisted of a large cross-section of the population.

The exploration of spirituality in the healthcare profession presents many challenges. For instance, one must be careful that bias towards one particular religious view is not present in the study. Several rules and suggestions were developed through an exploration of spiritual assessment tools (Power, 2006). This study evaluated many types of assessment methods used in connection with spirituality and religion in the healthcare setting. This study used a comparative approach of various assessment methods and presented the findings in a subjective method. The study provided a well thought out critical assessment of the research methods found, but did not provide conclusive evidence as to which method was best for the study of spiritual issues in the health care profession. The study made a key contribution to the field by establishing a set of guidelines for the development and use of assessment measures for use in the healthcare profession. It explored many of the caveats that must be considered in the use of these assessment tools.

Benefits of Mind/Body Techniques o Quality of Life

The next set of research studies explored the affects of spirituality and religion on patient outcomes. The first research study that will be discussed explored the clinical outcome of the patient. The remainder of the studies focus on the mental outcome of the patient. The primary goal of this research is to measure improvement in a manner that can be applied in the daily care of these patients. Therefore, quantitative methods have been used in many of the research studies found. However, quality of life and spiritually are subjective and can be difficult to define for the purposes of empirical research. This was one of the key shortcomings found in this group of research studies. It is important that in the future, studies define their meanings of ambiguous terms such as these. The following studies explore the importance of spirituality on patient outcomes.

Relaxation combined with acupuncture have been used to improve the quality of life for patients with HIV / AIDS. In a randomized quantitative study using a quality of life scale, HIV / AIDS patients demonstrated improved scores, when compared to a control group (Change, Boehmer, & Zhao et al., 2007).The sample population consisted of HIV / AIDS patients who were receiving acupuncture treatments in a clinic. The control group listened to soft music, whereas the test group listened to instructional relaxation tapes. The intervention groups demonstrated linear improvement over the course of the study and reported a better quality of life. The study clearly states that relaxation tapes may be added to acupuncture session to improve the quality of life and the spiritual and mental health of study. This was a pilot trial and would have had greater external validity with a larger sample size.

However, a similar study was conducted by Szaflarski, Ritchey, & Leonard et al. (2006) which used a much larger and more representative sample population. This study revealed that spirituality and religion is associated, both directly and indirectly with a feeling that their life was improved because of their spirituality. This study supported the body of research that suggests that spirituality and religion are an important part of the perception of quality of life in HIV / AIDS patients. Additional support was attained from a similar study, using a similar sample population and data collection method. This study supports the ability of spirituality and religion to have a positive affect on the outlook of patients and their perceptions of a greater quality of life because of them (Cotton, Puchalski, & Sherman, et al., 2006).

A cross section survey approach was used to explore the connection between quality of life and spirituality among HIV patients (Grimsley, 2006). The study took place in a clinical setting involving one particular setting. The author used a sample size of 101, which had been determined to be a sufficient in relation to the population of the clinic. The author used a 10-point survey of spiritual behaviors and beliefs using Likert-style responses. The study was designed to measure quality of life among HIV-positive persons. The study used statistical means to measure reliability of the study. According to these results, the study had a high degree of reliability, which makes it an important contribution to the field of study.

Hermann (2007) explored whether patients at the end of their life were having their spiritual needs met. The researchers used the Spiritual Needs Inventory to measure the spiritual needs of patients near the end of their life. The study used a sample population of 100 patients who were determined to be in the final stages of their disease. The survey instrument directly related to the study topic. The most valuable contribution to the field of study was the ability to better define spirituality in the clinical setting. The study discusses the necessity of nurses to pay attention to the spiritual needs of patient, as they are often the ones to spend the greatest amount of time with them. Several… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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