When you hear the words ‘You have cancer,’ your life is changed forever. It’s not just a physical change. It affects your spirit, too.”
|City of Hope's Betty Ferrell argues patients' spiritual needs deserve attention too.|
Those are the words of one City of Hope researcher. But they sum up a commitment to caring for the whole person that makes City of Hope very unusual among hospitals and research centers.
Betty Ferrell, Ph.D., a nursing researcher who specializes in quality of life at City of Hope, was quoted in USA Today on Valentine’s Day, 2007. Citing a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Ferrell noted that more than 70 percent of cancer patients with less than a year to live say their spiritual needs were not met by hospital chaplains or others in the health care system.
“This is terribly sad,” Ferrell says. “Spiritual needs are very important.” Speaking of the medical system as a whole, she adds, “We spend enormous amounts of time providing less than quality care for people because we don’t address their spiritual needs.”
At City of Hope, however, recognizing the quality of life needs of patients and their families has always been an essential part of a total approach to treating patients. As Dr. Samuel H. Golter, City of Hope’s executive director from 1926 to 1953, memorably wrote, “There is no profit in curing the body if in the process we destroy the soul.”
Those words are now inscribed on the Golter Gate in the rose garden on City of Hope’s Duarte campus. They form a daily reminder that City of Hope doesn’t treat diseases: it treats people.
Ferrell is quick to point out that all medical professionals should be advocates for their patients’ best interests, and try to connect them with chaplains, social workers and other professionals, as necessary.
Doing so, Ferrell writes, would send “a vital message to the patient that they are being cared for by someone who has not forgotten that a broken patient remains a whole person and that healing transcends survival.”
Championing fully that sort of approach is one of the things that makes City of Hope different, and it is a reflection of the compassion shown by generous friends like you. Thank you for your investment in care that treats the whole person, every day, at City of Hope.