7 min read

Spirituality and prayer: rituals at the end of life

Dean Anderson Joanna De Souza First published: Last updated:

Nurses often work with people who are dying, which can be a difficult time not only for the individual but also their loved ones. Experiencing the death of a loved one can leave a lasting impact on friends and family (Lewis and Hoy, 2011). For the bereaved person, the grieving process often involves anxiety, despair, sadness, guilt and even relief. People can find comfort and strength through rituals and the creation of a legacy.

What is a ritual?

A ritual is the undertaking of specific activities or behaviours that express symbolic, often culturally-influenced meaning; where certain thoughts and feelings are experienced either individually or as a group (Rando, 1985). End-of-life rituals enable people to express their ongoing grief and maintain a connection with the dying person (Rothaupt and Becker, 2007). Rituals, such as cultural practices surrounding ‘rites of passage’, enable people to transition through significant events or crises that they

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Dean Anderson

Joanna De Souza