Your spiritual needs at the end of life

Not everyone is religious or has a spiritual practice. But some people discover this side of themselves when they are close to death.

Finding out they are dying can strengthen some people’s beliefs. Other people reconsider their spiritual beliefs. They may change what they believe or discover new beliefs.

Talking to other people

You might want a spiritual leader to visit you regularly during your last few weeks of life if you have a religious faith. Many people who have a faith find it helpful to talk to their religious adviser regularly in these weeks. Your adviser will be able to visit you if you’re in hospital or in a hospice.

Other people prefer to share their beliefs and experiences with a partner, close friend or nurse. It is important that you are able to explore and express your spiritual needs in the last few weeks of your life, if you want to. 

Tell the people caring for you if you have specific needs relating to your spiritual or religious beliefs. For example, you might have specific requests about how you would like your body to be handled before and after you die.

Medical staff will write this in your notes if you’re in a hospital or hospice, so that everyone involved in your care is aware of your cultural or religious needs.

The most important thing is that you feel your spiritual needs are being taken care of.