Spiritual Needs Assessment
Grand Canyon University
HLT-310V Spirituality in Health Care
Spiritual Needs Assessment
On a daily basis health care professionals work with patients and families that have their own specific values, beliefs, ethics, and their own views on religion and spirituality. Our patients come from many different cultures and faiths, and as such, health care professionals must ask patients directly about their spiritual and religious needs and what role they will play in their health care. In order to create a healing environment for our patients, we must incorporate the patient’s beliefs, religious and spiritual needs to treat the patients physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
The author of this paper interviewed the subject K.S. from the perspective of a patient who was treated in a hospital setting for two weeks for pneumonia. The goal of this paper is to develop a spiritual assessment for the interview, and analyze the interview experience and answer what went well, what could be done differently in the future, and identify any barriers and how to address them. The author of this paper will also identify and explore the spiritual experience this author had with a friend, K.S., how the developed interview will be a useful tool and how illness and stress amplifies spiritual concerns and needs.
Spirituality and religion can influence the worldviews of patients, and their health care decisions. Spirituality and religion can comfort, help reduce stress and give hope to patients. The author of this paper conducted an interview with K.S. to assess the spiritual needs from a patient’s point of view. K.S. is a 43 year old Caucasian male who was hospitalized in the past year for pneumonia. (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
Question 1: What are your religious and spiritual beliefs?
Answer: “I am a Christian. I do not currently practice, but I do believe in God.” (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
Question 2: Do you have a source that you find comfort, hope and peace within such as your family, friends, or religion, especially in hard times, times of illness, or stress?
Answer: “Usually my friends and my family. Sometimes I go to my garage and focus on working on my motorcycle or car, or go hiking, it helps center me. At times I meditate, or think about God and pray.” (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
Question 3: Do you have someone in particular you like to talk to in times of need, for spiritual and religious guidance?
Answer: “My fiancé A.O. and my brother. They both listen well, give advice and are always there for me.” (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
Question 4: Does your spirituality or religion influence your health care decisions such as not accepting blood transfusions or refusing certain types of treatments, or in what you would want if it was for end-of-life care and decisions?
Answer: “No. I may need to talk to someone for support though.” (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
Question 5: Do you want to see anyone for your spiritual or religious needs while in the hospital such as a chaplain or spiritual leader? Did you ask to speak to someone?
Answer: “No. I didn’t feel like I needed to them.” (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
Question 6: Do you have any other practices that you follow such as any therapies (art, pet, music etc.), Reiki, guided imagery, hobbies, meditation, prayer that are important to you that you would like to continue to practice while you are in a health care facility?
Answer: “Meditation and prayer. I guess I would like pet therapy too. I like to read.” (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
Question 7: Are there any religious or spiritual beliefs that you would like incorporated into your care or would like caregivers to keep in mind while caring for you?
Answer: “Knock before entering. Don’t interrupt if I’m praying or meditating. Don’t hide anything from me.” (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
Question 8: Do you believe that illness and stress amplify your spiritual needs?
Answer: “Not always. I guess it depends on the situation. When I was sick, I didn’t. I guess if I was terminal or someone was dying it could.” (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
The author of this paper felt that the interview went well overall, the flow of the questions was smooth and the questions were geared towards what the specific interviewee responded with. In the future some considerations would be to modify the interview questions to be customized to the specific patient such as expanding upon the questions and going more in depth to try to better accommodate the patient’s religious and spirituality needs. One example would be if the patient follows any specific dietary needs. In the future, it may help the author of this paper to become more familiar with asking questions that could affect the spiritual and religious needs of the patient.
The author of this paper felt that a barrier of knowledge and experience inhibited the interview. While it is part of the nursing admission assessment to ask about religious and spiritual needs, the author of this paper has limited experience in developing and asking questions to assess the patient’s needs. With such limited knowledge and experience, this author felt that with more awareness more questions could have been developed to fully assess the needs. To overcome this barrier, the author of this paper should incorporate spiritual and religious assessments with regular nursing assessments, and to become more familiar with the services available to patients and their families.
Using the questions developed by this author, this author was able to work through the spiritual process with K.S. to better understand what K.S. thought, believed, and would like from a patient’s standpoint. The author of this paper felt that a connection between caregiver and patient is also developed when using a spiritual needs assessment tool, and helps patients have a peace of mind that someone is listening to their wishes and will incorporate their wishes and needs into the care that they receive. This tool not only helps the caregivers meet the patient’s spiritual and religious needs, but the emotional and mental needs as well, which also have an effect on the patient’s physical well-being and treatment.
In discussing the interviewee’s illness and stress during his hospitalization and recovery, it was not outwardly apparent that his spiritual and religious concerns and needs were amplified. As stated by K.S., “I guess it depends on the situation. When I was sick, I didn’t. I guess if I was terminal or someone was dying it could.” (K.S., personal communication, April 15, 2016)
In order to serve our patients to the best of our capabilities, health care professionals need to incorporate the patient’s spiritual and religious beliefs. Their beliefs many not only guide the health care decisions they make, but may affect their thoughts, attitudes and needs while being cared for. Spiritual and religious assessments need to be performed on all of our patients so we can care for them fully, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.