Religion, spirituality and speech-language pathology: a viewpoint for ensuring patient-centred holistic care

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Mathisen, B, Carey, LB, Carey-Sargeant, CL, Webb, G, Millar, CJ & Krikheli, L 2015, 'Religion, spriituality and speech-language pathology: a viewpoint for ensuring patient-centred holistic care', Journal of Religion and Health, vol. 54, no. 6, pp. 2309-2323.

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Internationally, the face of speech-language pathology (SLP) has changed substantially within many Western countries in response to meeting the needs of people from different cultures and religious/spiritual beliefs who have migrated from distant shores as a result of poverty, persecution and war. Caring for an increasing number of people who are from diverse religious/spiritual backgrounds has the potential to present considerable challenges to speech-language pathologists (SLPs).

It seems important, therefore, to explore such questions as to whether SLPs should consider religious/spiritual issues when caring for their clients. What, however, is the evidence, if any, to support the inclusion of religious/spiritual care within professional practice for SLPs? Are there any resources or instruments to assist SLP clinicians with screening a clients religious/spiritual history and beliefs that may affect therapy? Would clients actually want their spirituality taken into account and brought out into the open as part of their therapy and rehabilitation? Are there any implications for SLPs by not considering religious/spiritual issues or interfaith spiritual care in clinical practice?

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