The Spiritual Needs of Patients
Hospitals and health care institutions are the places where people put their trust in relating to health problems. People expect all their needs to be taken care of at those institutions and it becomes devastating when that hope is cut short. Once an individual falls sick, especially when one suffers from a terminal disease, it becomes necessary to start searching for the meaning of life. Naturally, people are bound to believe in something supernatural that controls events that human beings are unable to, and majority of people in the world attribute that supernatural power to God. More often than not, practitioners ignore the fact that a patient’s needs do not end at the medical and physical body healing. The spiritual needs of a patient contribute a great deal regarding how well he/she responds to medication and incase of a terminal disease how well one receives and accepts the situation. Unfortunately, many patients never get these services from their health care providers and this hinders the physical healing of the patient (Borneman et al., 2010). Consequently, Medical service personnel have come up with ways of ensuring that their patients are well served regarding all their needs. The spiritual needs of patients are as important as the physical needs of a patient in the current medical world. This paper aims at analyzing a tool for assessing the spiritual needs of patients. In addition, the effectiveness of the tool towards achieving better customer service will be analyzed.
The Assessment Tool
The assessment tool used contained five key questions that helped determine and assess the spiritual needs of the patient. The questions were administered to the patients in a questionnaire form. All the questions were open-ended, allowing the patient to give the information necessary without any limitation. An example of the questionnaire together with the patient’s answers is presented below
- Do you consider yourself spiritual or religious? yes
- Do your beliefs help you cope with stress? yes
- What would you say gives your life meaning? The higher power
- How important is faith or belief in your life? Very important
- How does faith and belief affect your health care decision-making? It has great influence
- Are you affiliated to any religious or spiritual community? yes
- Is your affiliation with the community of any help to you? Helps much
- How do you prefer involving health care providers in your spirituality? I would prefer having the practitioner walk with me in achieving my spiritual needs fully.
The most critical discovery achieved through this tool is the fact that every patient needs to have somebody to take care of his/her spiritual needs. Through this analysis, it is evident that health care providers have been ignoring a very important aspect of the human healing process. As mentioned earlier, sicknesses have a way of bringing a person to that place where he/she need to put some perspective in his/her life (Yousefi & Abedi, 2011). The truth is some people might not have any association with spiritual matters, especially in the current world where technology is much advanced, allowing science to grow faster than before. Currently, it is easy to attach various phenomena to scientific explanation as opposed to a period in the past when people would attribute most of the things to a supernatural power. As a result, people have become less concerned with religious and spiritual matters. However, at times of illness, the fact that an individual tend to spent a lot of time alone allows one to search for the meaning of life and probably change a person’s idea or attitude on spiritual matters.
The second aspect of discovery was the fact that the spirituality of individuals affects how well they respond to treatment since most of the people with religious beliefs are more hopeful than those that do not have such beliefs. Helping patients to satisfy their spiritual needs is the fast step towards achieving their full recovery. Depression, lose of control, and psychological stress are some of the results of unresolved patients spiritual needs. Psychiatrists have proven that there are personal needs of a patient that cannot be achieved by counseling and any other form of medical intervention. Medicine and health care are matters attached so much to science; therefore, any denial of spirituality is acceptable (Yousefi & Abedi, 2011). However, current research indicates that there is need for these two areas to agree at some point. Basically, matters relating to human health can be said to be both spiritual and scientific hence the need to take both cases at consideration while handling patients.
The assessment went well because the patient was willing to corporate even before knowing her status in relation to spiritual matters. One reason why practitioners are rarely involved in patient’s spiritual matters is due to the fear of approaching a person of different faith, which can make patients uncomfortable or even hostile to further treatment. People do not like being approached on religious matters since that is one of the factors that cause discrimination around the world. Considering the fact that a hospital is a public place, avoiding spirituality matters out of the equation is the most convenient choice to ensure customer equity. However, health care operators need to come up with new strategies to take care of patient’s spiritual needs without arousing any idea of discrimination. To achieve this, operators need to establish aspects that are common among all or most religions and use such to reach out to patients. Patients would be more than willing to open up to a person they believe are out to assist them not to intimidate them. Additionally, it is wise to allow the patients to give their opinion on how they prefer interacting with operators in offering spiritual help (Borneman et al., 2010). Research has indicated the desire for patients to have their health care operators get involved in their spirituality, but the fact that people are different cannot be ignored. The patient can only define the level of involvement, besides; the health of an individual is a personal matter.
In conclusion, the assessment of a
patient’s spiritual needs is an emerging issue in health care and it must be
emphasized, especially for people suffering from terminal illnesses. To achieve
maximum results in this matter, operators must ensure that they focus more on
establishing a close relationship with patients. A close professional
relationship will not only help influence a patients decision concerning
spirituality and religious matters but also enhance treatment on the operators
part. Generally, taking care of patients spiritual needs is an important aspect
in improving health care delivery system (Afifi et al., 2011).
Afifi, A., Rice, T., Andersen, R., Rosenstock, L. & Kominski, G. (2013). Changing the u.s. health care system key issues in health services policy and management. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.
Borneman, T., Ferrell, B. & Puchalski, C. (2010). Evaluation of the FICA tool for spiritual assessment. Journal of pain and symptom management 40(2), 163-174.
Yousefi, H. & Abedi, H. (2011). Spiritual care in hospitalized patients. Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research 16(1), 125-132.