Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

The spiritual concerns of people experiencing homelessness at the end of life.

BACKGROUND:: Spiritual care is a fundamental component of holistic end-of-life (EoL) care. AIM:: To explore what is known about the spiritual concerns of people experiencing homelessness towards the EoL. METHODS:: A narrative literature review was conducted from 1997 to June 2018 using CINAHL Complete, MEDLINE and PubMed. This identified just 11 relevant papers; eight papers report on studies based in the US, one paper reports on a study based in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), and two of the papers are literature reviews. RESULTS:: Both the ROI and US studies report the primacy of religious beliefs and spiritual experience for people experiencing homelessness considering EoL issues. However, the findings of studies from the US and the ROI are not necessarily transferable to the other populations of people experiencing homelessness. Furthermore, it cannot be assumed that the spiritual needs of people experiencing homelessness mirror those of the housed population. CONCLUSION:: There is a need for further research into the international perspective on the spiritual needs of homeless people towards the EoL, especially in secular countries.