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Prayer and Faith Helps Parents Endure Their Child’s Deat

would give other parents. Four spiritual/religious themes emerged:
1. Prayer (“Be strong and pray” was a typical response)
2. Faith (“Put your faith in God” was a typical response)
3. Access to clergy – the family's own as well as hospital chaplains. (One parent wrote, regarding withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies, “… a discussion with our pastor confirming we had the scriptural authority to make these decisions was very helpful.”)
4. Belief that the parent-child relationship endures beyond death. (One parent wrote, “Keep talking to your child - let your child know that you are OK. That it is OK for them to go on.”) Another wrote, (“Remember that they are] up in heaven happy and always watching over you like you watched over them.”)

Parents also emphasized being guided by insight and wisdom, inner values, and spiritual virtues such as hope, trust, and love.

Of note, parents wrote much more freely about spiritual/religious themes when offering advice to other parents than when offering advice to hospital staff.

“Some parents may be reluctant to share their spirituality without being invited, because they fear it may be misunderstood or judged in the scientific culture of the hospital,” Meyer notes. “But many parents experience their child's death as a spiritual journey, not only as a medical event.”

The researchers call on hospitals to be explicitly sensitive to parents' spiritual and religious needs. Specific suggestions include:
1. Create an environment that is hospitable to spirituality and prayer.
2. Provide clinically trained, hospital-based chaplains as an integral part of the ICU care team.
3. Offer a multi-faith chapel that has a flexible space, provides a variety of devotional materials, is convenient to the intensive care units, and is open at all times.
4. Inquire if parents are part of a faith community, and whether they wish to invite their clergyperson to
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