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“All my saints are within me”: Expressions of end-of-life spirituality

  • Marjorie C. Dobratz (a1)



With spirituality being one of the most important components of end-of-life (EOL) care, this study explored the oral responses of 44 dying persons who expressed spirituality.


Four identified spiritual themes: religious systems of beliefs and values, life meaning, purpose and connections with others, nonreligious systems of beliefs and values, and metaphysical or transcendental phenomena served as a framework for a content analysis of 91 spiritual references.


From the content analysis, eight interrelated and separate themes emerged. Although the highest number of responses centered on religious beliefs and values, nonreligious beliefs and values that included reason, dignity, mental discipline, and communion were expressed. The themes of life meaning, purpose, and connections with others also surfaced as important aspects of EOL spirituality.

Significance of results:

The findings support the need for hospice/palliative care professionals to approach spirituality from other than a Judeo-Christian viewpoint, help dying persons create meaning and purpose within the context of their lives, and assist them in their desire for connectedness to faith communities and other significant individuals in their lives.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Marjorie C. Dobratz, University of Washington Tacoma - Nursing Program, 1900 Commerce St. Campus Box 358421, Tacoma, WA 98402. E-mail:


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“All my saints are within me”: Expressions of end-of-life spirituality

  • Marjorie C. Dobratz (a1)


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