Psychological and spiritual needs of children with severe encephalopathy and their families
Summary. In palliative care it is necessary to evaluate and respond to the psychological and spiritual needs of the participants in order to achieve the maximum possible well-being for both the patient and his/her family. Coping with one’s own death, the loss of a loved one or the loss of some significant aspect in a person’s life is one of the most difficult challenges that human beings have to face. Death, as the maximum expression of loss, is experienced as a threat, as one of the most difficult events to cope with and with the greatest psychological impact. In the final stage of life, the patient has to deal with an important emotional impact, many losses and the need to cope with the fears that the whole situation triggers. This path cannot be chosen, but it is possible to choose the attitude taken towards the way the path is walked, so that the patient’s perception of control increases, while the sense of uncertainty and the unforeseeable nature of the situation are reduced. This article reports on the psychological and spiritual needs of the family of a child suffering from a severe disease and receiving palliative care, as well as addressing aspects related to the way they cope with such circumstances.
Key words. Coping. Death. Family. Palliative care. Psychological needs. Spiritual needs.