Religion and Spirituality in Surrogate Decision Making for Hospitalized Older Adults

Kristin N. Geros-Willfond, Steven S. Ivy, Kianna Montz, Sara E. Bohan, Alexia M. Torke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We conducted semi-structured interviews with 46 surrogate decision makers for hospitalized older adults to characterize the role of spirituality and religion in decision making. Three themes emerged: (1) religion as a guide to decision making, (2) control, and (3) faith, death and dying. For religious surrogates, religion played a central role in end of life decisions. There was variability regarding whether God or humans were perceived to be in control; however, beliefs about control led to varying perspectives on acceptance of comfort-focused treatment. We conclude that clinicians should attend to religious considerations due to their impact on decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-777
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Proxy
  • Religion
  • Spirituality
  • Surrogate decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Medicine(all)
  • Nursing(all)

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