Spiritual Assessment and Counsel in Healthcare
Spiritual Assessment and Counsel in Healthcare
Table of Contents
Introduction to Spiritual Assessments
The holistic view of healthcare encompasses the “whole person”: the mind, body, and spirit of a human being. Psychotherapy helps heal the mind and keep it healthy. Proper nutrition, exercise, and medical support help to keep the body healthy and improve it. But what of the spiritual aspect as it relates to health and well-being? Let’s take a closer look at spirituality, what a spiritual assessment is, and how it can help improve health.
Is the Spiritual Aspect Important?
|91% said they believed in God or a Universal Spirit|
|83% reported that God is highly important in their lives|
|79% of Americans said they believed spiritual faith can help people recover from disease|
|63% felt that doctors should ask their patients about spiritual beliefs|
What is a Spiritual Assessment?
A spiritual assessment is necessary to find out if any beliefs could impact health. There are formal spiritual assessment tools, a few of which we will discuss later on, that help healthcare professionals in identifying patients’ spiritual needs. Assessment tools can also be used to see whether patients are experiencing spiritual distress. However, informally assessing patients’ spirituality by asking open questions about their spiritual beliefs and needs is also an effective way to determine patients’ spirituality. Let’s first take a look at the nature of spirituality and the areas that need to be addressed during a spiritual assessment.
What is Spirituality?
Spirituality means different things to different people, and it is an intensely personal issue for many. In general, spirituality is the way in which individuals fulfill what they believe to be the purpose of their lives. It’s a way of life that comes from a person’s inner realm which can be from a secular or religious point of view.
Spirituality is important to our psychological well-being because it can provide direction and energy. Therefore, spiritual awareness can provide these vital points:
Studies support that spirituality helps prevent and heal disease. It also helps those who are enduring distress and disability.2
So, a spiritual assessment can help pinpoint areas in life that may help a person recover.
Religion includes practices and rituals such as prayer or meditation and engaging with people in the religious community, such as fellow church members and clergy.
The spiritual gift and its expression are concepts that innate talents, such as artistry, allow a person to better self-expression. When spiritual gifts are used, it increases the potential for individual success and happiness. As part of a formula for healing, if a person is using their spiritual gifts to bring joy to themselves or others, it can provide peace and pleasure.
Spiritual tools are the ways patients can help to change their mindsets from fear to a more confident, positive approach to the world. Some examples of spiritual tools include meditation, practicing surrendering to a higher power daily, taking a personal inventory, prayer, saying affirmations, and reading devotionals.
Who Performs a Spiritual Assessment?
Family doctors are the frontline of medical care and become familiar with their patients with repeat visits. This initial contact with a variety of patients gives GPs vast opportunities to determine the spiritual needs and care of many people.
Nurses are one of the main providers of spiritual care to patients. Hands-on nursing care in hospitals and other medical settings permits close relationships between nurses and their patients, giving nurses ample opportunities to provide spiritual care to patients.
Other Healthcare Professionals
Other healthcare professions, most notably psychiatrists, psychologists, and addiction treatment specialists, also offer opportunities for spirituality to figure into more effective and successful treatments. For example, people see someone in these fields when they are feeling stressed or depressed. Research shows that a lack of spiritual beliefs can be linked to depression.3
An imbalance in a person’s spiritual needs is often seen in addiction treatment. It’s important for psychiatrists, psychologists, and addiction treatment professionals to address spiritual issues because of their influence on mental health and recovery.
Spiritual Gifts Assessment Tool
Spiritual Distress Assessment Tool
Spiritual distress develops when there are unmet spiritual needs which leads to a disturbance in the person’s spiritual state. The Spiritual Distress Assessment Tool (SDAT) aims to uncover any unmet spiritual needs and determine the presence of spiritual distress. The higher degree to which a spiritual need stays unmet, the greater the level of disturbance in the spiritual state and the higher degree of spiritual distress experienced by the patient.
FICA Spiritual History Tool
The FICA tool is used for a clinical assessment of spirituality. The FICA spiritual assessment can be used as a guide for spiritual history by framing questions rather than relying on a checklist. Therefore, the FICA tool guides conversations between the healthcare professional and the patient.
How Does a Spiritual Assessment Improve Healthcare?
If spirituality is an important part of your life, J. Flowers Health Institute will include spirituality in your care. Because findings support that attention to the spiritual aspects of care can lead to better outcomes, our healthcare professionals can perform a spiritual assessment and attend to your spiritual concerns during treatment.