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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Medical Schools Recognize Spirit Factor

A decade ago a study showed that 77 percent of Americans felt that physicians should address patients’ spiritual needs, but that only 11 percent of doctors participated in such discussions. Today attitudes have changed. Now 101 medical schools incorporate patient spirituality in their curricula, up from 17 in 1995 according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. Some hospitals, such as UCLA Medical Center, even encourage physicians to include spiritual histories in patients’ charts.

Living Will Directives The Terri Schiavo case in Florida and related news events have accelerated interest in living wills and end-of-life issues. More people have become aware of the vital impor-tance of making decisions about their own end-of-life care and ensuring their choices are known. Vital legal steps include drawing up a living will, designating a healthcare surrogate and assigning power of attorney. Considerations include use of artificial life support and emergency resuscitation. has provided a free "Living Will Resources" webpage as a guide to thinking about both legal requirements and spiritual questions from the perspective of various faiths. It provides links to state forms, the American Bar Association’s advance planning toolkit, and answers to questions about palliative nutrition and hydration, pain management and hospice care. There’s also a link to the U.S. Living Will Registry to document desired arrangements. For information visit

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