Springer’s Journal of Religion and Health published a new article by Assoc. Prof. Allan A. Basas, Ph.D. and Mr. Ivan Efreaim A. Gozum of the UST Center for Theology, Religious Studies and Ethics and the Institute of Religion in their special issue on Spiritual Care for People with Parkinson’s Disease and their Caregivers. The paper delves into the potential of Pope Francis’ Culture of Encounter (CoE) to establish an ethical foundation that undergirds pastoral and health care for persons with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), their family members, and caregivers.
In the article, Basas and Gozum provide an in-depth assessment of the documented experiences of people with PD, their families and carers. PD, an incurable illness, profoundly impacts a patient’s well-being as well as the lives of their family members and carers. In line with this, the authors underline the importance of reimagining a more focused and ethical healthcare framework and the need for healthcare experts to develop effective strategies that will relieve the pain and suffering of patients, their relatives, and carers.
Basas and Gozum discuss Pope Francis’ “Culture of Encounter” that promotes fraternal openness and encourages people to recognize, accept, and love one another. Following Christ’s compassion, CoE emphasizes that no one is useless or expendable and emphasizes that everyone has inherent dignity, regardless of origin or station. This notion can be used in Parkinson’s disease caregiving by treating people with dignity, appreciating their autonomy, and respecting their illness. The authors propose CoE as a potential springboard for developing an ethical healthcare system for patients with PD.
The CoE encourages empathy and understanding of a PwPD’s physical limits, emotional worries, and day-to-day challenges to create a kind and encouraging environment. Similarly, using CoE can help create a more Christ-like approach to healthcare.