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The High Plains Society
for
Applied Anthropology

 
Medical- rehabilitation institutes and hospitals treat survivors of major illnesses, accidental injuries, and domestic or urban violence. Patients are not hospitalized in hopes of a cure, but rather to learn how to adapt to permanent, major bodily change. They learn a whole set of cultural rules governing the conduct of changed bodies. Discourse on spirituality and religion plays na important role in everyday life of this social universe shared by staff and patients, raising questions about whether staff and patient needs are addressed in ways facilitating patient re-entry into family and community life. One finding is that, in contrast to acute care hospital lie, visits by a patients clergy or lay ministers rarely occurred, but that spirituality is a major staff and patient concern. This paucity of clergy visits and acquaintance visits from patients' congregations or parishes at this critical time in patient life became apparent when a protestant minister was admitted to the brain injury unit and congregation members visited him daily. His visitors then extended their visits to other patients on the unit who were lonely or who had no visitors. This article also looks at staff reaction to patients' declarations of spiritual rebirth that patients in interviews claim to have experience during the medical- rehabilitation's process. 
Vol.26_No.2_2006_Pawlowski_106-117.pdf

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