How Faith Affects End-of-Life Decisions

When faith, belief systems and health meet, the resulting play according to Edward T. Creagan, M.D. of Mayo Clinic, is bewildering, and is something that needs to be studied further.

Strong religious faith and end-of-life care

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is an "association between religious faith and preferences for aggressive end-of-life care. This means that, people who have what Creagan calls "positive religious coping" are more likely to ask for life-prolonging care such as mechanical ventilations, than individuals who do not have strong religious faith.

The findings of the study may be surprising to some medical experts, especially to those who have encountered individuals with strong religious faith who were more willing to pass up on these measures.

Respecting others’ beliefs and choices

Creagan says, "This study was an excellent reminder that we can’t make assumptions about people’s beliefs and desires regarding the end of life. The lesson here is a simple one: We need to respect others’ beliefs and choices, and learn from one another as we face the decisions that arise at the end of life."

Source: Mayo Clinic