ⓘ Spiritual care in health care professions. As per 2014, more than 70 medical schools in the United States offer courses on spirituality and medicine. The Associ ..


ⓘ Spiritual care in health care professions

As per 2014, more than 70 medical schools in the United States offer courses on spirituality and medicine. The Association of American Medical Colleges has co-sponsored, with the National Institute for Healthcare Research, 4 conferences, on curricular development in spirituality and medicine since 1997.


1. Assessing spirituality

Asking patients questions about the meaning of life, their acceptance of their own or others failures, and how they experience connectedness with others should have the goal of assessing how satisfied the patient is with the answers to these questions. By developing personal relationships with their patients and their families, health professionals can better assess patients spiritual situation. Some examples of opening questions in a spiritual assessment are as follows:

  • "Are there any spiritual or religious practices that are important to you?"
  • "Would you like for us to contact your clergy member or religious advisor?".
  • "Do you have a religious preference?"

2. Role of spirituality in illness

The prospect of death may lead a patient to deal with questions related to meaning of life, such as "Why is this happening to me?" or "Is there a God?"


3. Self-care

Li and Shun 2016 focused on self care coping styles in patients with chronic heart failure found that spiritual and religious support affects heart failure patients coping with both physical and psychological self-care.


4.1. Applications in health care Third-party professional aid

Ill individuals and their families may request referrals for services such as a chaplain, psychologist, or social worker who can address their spiritual concerns. Providers who are uncomfortable accommodating an integrative approach to care should consult with other practitioners skilled in providing spiritual care, so that patients can integrate spiritual support into their own self-care. The results showed that spiritual intelligence training had a positive effect on nurses’ competence in spiritual care. Also, 89% of the nurses who participated in the study had not been given any prior education regarding spiritual care. Nurses considered barriers to spiritual care including inadequate staff, cultural differences, high workload and lack of education on this subject.The development of spiritual care provided by nurses can result in various outcomes such as increased satisfaction with care in patients, reduced anxiety and symptoms of depression during hospitalization, reduced length of hospitalization and, in general, improved quality of life.


5. Criticism

The concept of "spirituality" in health care has been criticised. Salander and Hamberg question the usefulness of Puchalskys definition:

A prerequisite for a meaningful concept is that it is demarcated in relation to other concepts. Puchalski and colleagues conceptualization of spirituality lacks this demarcation – it unfortunately qualifies as an example of what Sartori called "conceptual stretching." It becomes a popular catch-all term – it means everything and, therefore, nothing.

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