Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 765–777

Religion and Spirituality in Surrogate Decision Making for Hospitalized Older Adults

  • Kristin N. Geros-Willfond
  • Steven S. Ivy
  • Kianna Montz
  • Sara E. Bohan
  • Alexia M. Torke
Original Paper

Abstract

We conducted semi-structured interviews with 46 surrogate decision makers for hospitalized older adults to characterize the role of spirituality and religion in decision making. Three themes emerged: (1) religion as a guide to decision making, (2) control, and (3) faith, death and dying. For religious surrogates, religion played a central role in end of life decisions. There was variability regarding whether God or humans were perceived to be in control; however, beliefs about control led to varying perspectives on acceptance of comfort-focused treatment. We conclude that clinicians should attend to religious considerations due to their impact on decision making.

Keywords

Proxy Surrogate decision making Religion Spirituality 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin N. Geros-Willfond
    • 1
  • Steven S. Ivy
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kianna Montz
    • 4
  • Sara E. Bohan
    • 5
  • Alexia M. Torke
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Franciscan St. Francis HealthIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Fairbanks Center for Medical EthicsIndiana University (IU) HealthIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.Daniel F. Evans Center for Spiritual and Religious Values in HealthcareIU HealthIndianapolisUSA
  4. 4.IU Center for Aging ResearchRegenstrief Institute, Inc.IndianapolisUSA
  5. 5.Critical Care and Pulmonary MedicineCommunity Hospital NetworkIndianapolisUSA
  6. 6.Indiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA

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