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Use of Formal Assessment Tools for Patients Spiritual Needs - Essay Example

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This discussion highlights that often, the physical aspect of patients is what is given much attention in health care. Holistic care and assessment of the patient is actually the legitimate goal of nursing; healing the whole person is supposed to be the main priority of health care and assessment…
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Use of Formal Assessment Tools for Patients Spiritual Needs
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Often, the physical aspect of patients is what is given much attention in health care. However, holistic care and assessment of the patient is actually the legitimate goal of nursing; healing the whole person is supposed to be the main priority of health care and assessment (Dossey, 2000). Puchalski (2006) notes, the health of a person is an interrelationship of mind, spirit, and body, and that is why all these aspects should be addressed during patient’s care and assessment. In most cases, the spiritual aspect is ignored during patient’s care and assessment; this is despite the importance of this aspect in the healing process of the patient (Fitchett, 1999). Young and Koopsen (2006) explain that the spiritual needs of the patients are less tangible compared to physical, because they are often difficult to measure, complex, and abstract hence, given lower priority than other needs especially physical needs. Spiritual needs are defined as factors that are needed to diminish the spiritual deficits or enhance spiritual strengths of a person. These needs are concerned with person’s relationship and meaning of things that transcends the material things (Anandarajah and Hight, 2001). Rather than leaving the spiritual needs of patients to the chaplains, health professionals should ensure that assessment and care of patient’s spiritual needs are met. Therefore, they need to fully understand these needs so as to be able to determine if patients have spiritual needs that are unresolved. Puchalski (2006) notes that various researches have indicated that psychological coping and physical healing may become complicated if patient’s spiritual needs are unresolved. Thus, it is necessary that a health professional uses a formal assessment tool, such as FICA model, in order to assess and care for the patient’s spiritual needs.
Anandarajah and Hight (2001) explain formal spiritual assessment as that which involves specific questions being asked in a given interview process in order to determine what role spiritual practices and beliefs play in patient’s recovery or illness, what spiritual resources and needs the patient may have, and how these practices and beliefs can affect the treatment plan of the patient. To achieve much effectiveness and efficiency, formal assessment tools should take less time, be flexible, and be easy to use. The words used during assessment should encourage the patient to participate in the process. It should be conducted in a manner that is non- judgemental and non-threatening (Anandarajah & Hight, 2001). There are three major formal assessment tools namely: FICA Model, Howden’s Spirituality Assessment Scale, and Jarel Spiritual Well-Being Scale.
The FICA model provides information concerning who or what provides the client with the life’s transcendent meaning. Young and Koopsen (2006) describe FICA as an acronym standing for (F) Faiths and beliefs, (I) Influence and Importance of faith and beliefs, (C) Community, and (A) Address in care. It uses questions relating to these aspects for assessment. In regard to Howden’s Spirituality Assessment Scale, the tool contains 28 items that are designed to measure spirituality as a unifying or integrating dimension of humans. It provides a wide approach of assessing spiritual needs, especially when working with patients of diverse religious background (Dossey et al., 2000). The scale focuses on four main areas namely: transcendence, inner resources, meaning and purpose in life, and unifying interconnectedness. Lastly, Jarel Spiritual Well-Being Scale is an assessment tool used by health professionals and is based on assessing spiritual needs of older adults. The tool is based on 21 statements which are rated according to a scale of “strongly agree” - “strongly disagree” (Anandarajah & Hight, 2001).
In conclusion, these formal assessment tools are the best way for a health professional to ensure that assessment and care of patient’s spiritual needs are met. They are well- formulated to achieve this objective.

References
Anandarajah, G and Hight, E. (2001). Spirituality and Medical Practice: Using HOPE Questions as a Practical Tool for Spiritual Assessment. American Family Physician, 63 (1), 81-89.
Dossey, B et al. (2000). Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen.
Fitchett, G. (1999) Assessing Spiritual Need: A Guide for Caregivers. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg/Fortress Press.
Puchalski, C. (2006). Spiritual Assessment in Clinical Practice. Psychiatric Annals, 36 (3), 150-155.
Young, C and Koopsen, C. (2006). Spirituality, Health & Healing. Sunbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Read More
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