Religious aspects of end to life issues of three major religions: A systemic review

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Dhrubajyoti Bhuyan
Sabita Dihingia
Atreyee Dutta
Khushpreet Kaur
Jibananda Das


spiritual, beliefs, terminally ill, DNR


Background and objective: The objective of our study was to examine the religious beliefs of devotees of the three major religions in the world about commonly met medical conditions at the end of life (EoL). We conducted a systematic review of a few observational studies that investigated the role of religion in frequently occurring end-of-life situations.
Materials and methods: The review utilized several databases, including Pubmed Central, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, and EMBASE, to retrieve studies. The studies included analysis from healthcare practitioners, case studies, reviews from the general population, and other observational studies. Articles that had only a philosophical/ hypothetical focus were not included in the review. We examined European and Indian studies published in peer-reviewed journals between 2007 and 2020 where we identified 65 articles, which generated 456 references. From these references, we selected 20 articles for review. Significant heterogeneity within religions was observed, which could be attributed to variations in beliefs across different communities and cultures.
Results: The results of our study provide insight not only into the primary end-of-life concerns from a religious viewpoint but also contribute to understanding how religious doctrines and beliefs impact real patient decision-making and healthcare practices.
Conclusion: Prospective studies utilizing validated tools are necessary to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the effect of spirituality and religion on end-of-life outcomes.

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