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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 37

of 'Overview of spirituality in palliative care'

A literature review of spirituality in coping with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.
Beuscher L, Beck C
J Clin Nurs. 2008 Mar;17(5A):88-97.
AIMS: This paper presents a literature review focusing on the use of spirituality in coping by older persons with early-stage Alzheimer's disease from their perspectives. The purpose of this literature review is to examine the existing body of knowledge about spirituality in coping with Alzheimer's disease and to apply a spiritual framework of coping in organizing the literature to identify themes and gaps in knowledge.
BACKGROUND: Despite the abundance of Alzheimer's disease research, little is known about how older persons with this devastating disease cope with the consequential losses. Maintaining a sense of normalcy and preserving self-worth are coping strategies reported by older persons with early-stage Alzheimer's disease. As spirituality is an effective coping resource for older persons with numerous psychological and personal losses in their lives, it may be an important coping resource for person with Alzheimer's disease.
METHOD: A literature search was conducted to find research published between 1990-2006 aimed at understanding spirituality in coping with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Six research studies were reviewed. Findings suggest that persons with early-stage Alzheimer's disease draw from their spirituality and faith to find meaning and courage in facing the challenges of cognitive losses. Furthermore, they are able to provide rich information about their spirituality and the psychosocial aspects of living with Alzheimer's disease. Limited empirical knowledge compels the need for future research to explore how spirituality is utilized in coping with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Enhancing persons' abilities to cope effectively with their diseases is an important goal of nursing care. Understanding how older persons with Alzheimer's disease cope with their memory loss is critical to the development of evidence-based interventions to minimize the stress of living with this disease.
School of Nursing, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37240, USA. linda.m.beuscher@vanderbilt.edu