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Comment & Response
February 2016

Spiritual Care Providers and Goals-of-Care Discussions

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Olive View – UCLA Medical Center, Sylmar, California
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(2):278-279. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7890

To the Editor The study by Ernecoff et al1 reveals a number of insights into the nature of family conferences in the intensive care unit (ICU). We laud their assessment of the religious preferences of the physician in charge of the family conference; however, it may have been more revelatory to ask the participating physicians not merely the broad question of whether religion was important to them but how important religion was in dealing with their own major life challenges as Curlin et al2 did in their historic evaluation of physician religiosity. In that study, physicians were twice as likely (61% vs 29%) to cope with major life challenges without God. This finding may partly explain the low likelihood of physicians probing surrogates’ religious concerns discovered in the study by Ernecoff et al.

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