Spiritual care at the end of life in the Islamic context, a systematic review

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According to the statistics over 30000 deaths occur annually in Iran due to cancer with an incidence of over 70000 new cases; this growing rate is similar to the developing world. These figures do not take into account other chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart failure, gastro-intestinal disorders, chronic neurological disorders and lung disease, which all warrant palliative care. A systematic review was conducted until the end of 2007, to find out the ways that palliative care services are provided for Muslim patients suffering from cancer. Only three papers met the criteria as being original research either quantitative or qualitative, published during the last 10 years. Our findings conceded that very few papers are available in Islamic context about spiritual care at the end of life, where only one was quantitative. While cancer is rapidly increasing specially in developing world, the need of terminally ill patients with other conditions should be equally considered. Despite the fact that spirituality in Islamic societies exists profoundly, spiritual care must be institutionalised for patients who are in most need at their end of life, which needs more evidence.