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Author Notes:

Katherine Carroll Britt, katbritt@nursing.upenn.edu

Conceptualization, K.C.B.; methodology, K.C.B.; software, K.C.B.; formal analysis, K.C.B., A.C.O.B., H.Z., F.C.E. and C.F.; qualitative evaluation, K.C.B. and A.C.O.B.; writing—original draft preparation, K.C.B.; writing—review and editing, K.C.B., A.C.O.B., H.Z., F.C.E., C.F. and F.E.; supervision, K.C.B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

The authors would like to thank Roxanne Bogucka for her assistance and literature search support.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Nursing Research (Grant #T32NR009356 [K.C.B.]). In addition, this work resulted from the development plan and activities of a career development award through the National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health (K23AG065452 [F.C.E.]). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. A.C.O.B. was funded by the Hillman Scholars in Nursing Innovation Fund at The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. K.C.B. is a Jonas Mental Health/Psychology Scholar 2021-2023 supported by Jonas Philanthropies.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Health Care Sciences & Services
  • Health Policy & Services
  • Alzheimer's
  • spiritual care
  • spiritual support
  • successful aging
  • unmet needs
  • meaning
  • connectedness
  • peace
  • LIFE
  • END

Spiritual Needs of Older Adults Living with Dementia: An Integrative Review


Journal Title:



Volume 11, Number 9


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Older adults living with dementia experience progressive decline, prompting reliance on others for spiritual care and support. Despite a growing interest in studying persons living with dementia (PLwDs), empirical evidence on the spiritual needs of PLwDs has not been synthesized. Using the Whittemore and Knafl method, this integrative review examined the literature from 2000 to 2022 on the spiritual care needs of PLwDs. We sought to identify characteristics of the spiritual needs of PLwDs and ways to address them. The ATLA Religion, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PubMed, and Socindex databases were used to search the literature, and 12 peer-reviewed articles met the inclusion criteria. Spiritual care needs varied across studies. Overall, findings support the importance of identifying PLwDs’ religious and spiritual backgrounds to inform person-centered care. Spiritual needs were identified as verbal and non-verbal expressions related to past meaning and religious and spiritual background and were not consistently addressed in care. Providers reported observing spiritual distress in the mild stage prompting the need for spiritual care. There is a great need for dementia-specific spiritual assessment tools and spiritual care interventions to support spiritual well-being in dementia care. Spiritual care involves facilitating religious rituals and providing spiritual group therapy and religious and spiritual activities.

Copyright information:

© 2023 by the authors.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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