The spiritual assessment tool

The spiritual assessment tool
The spiritual assessment tool

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The spiritual assessment tool

Spiritual Needs Assessment

The spiritual assessment tool is part of a holistic approach to addressing the needs of the patients. Ideally, the personal beliefs of a patient can play a vital role in incorporating coping strategies and limiting the negative implications of depression. Currently, healthcare plans implement psychosocial resources in addressing the needs of patients. Mainly, oncology patients tend to spend an extended time with the nurses and doctors; therefore, there is a need to ensure that their accommodation is as comfortable as possible (McSherry & Ross, 2010).

The spiritual assessment tool can be customized depending on attributes such as age, gender, and ethnicity. Analyzing the implications of the instrument will ultimately enable doctors and nurses to improve care management. The following questions were developed and the conversation between the interviewer and the patient documented. Furthermore, the patient was an adult male cancer patient in the late twenties, of African American ethnicity.

Part I: The Interview

Interviewer: Are there any spiritual beliefs that help you to interpret the role and meaning of life?

Patient: Yes there are. I believe that every man has a part to play in balancing earth’s ecosystem. Some people have minor roles, and others have major ones; however, each is equally important. God’s will is that people share the gifts they have with each other and with their environment.

Interviewer: Does your family have a religious background?

Patient: My father is of the Catholic faith. My mother is a Christian, a Protestant. I never really understood what she is protesting about

Interviewer: Do you have any personal religious convictions?

Patient: Yes I do. I believe the blood of Jesus can save lives and souls. Of course, I don’t mean a literal approach, but I am convinced that my life is spent well if I live reflecting on the teaching of the Bible.

Interviewer: Do you believe that aspects of your spiritual life have physical manifestations on your health?

Patient: Yes. The devil came to steal, kill and destroy. Naturally, that implies harm on my physical body. However, I can face adversity because I know I am not alone. Jesus hears my prayers and will deliver me from this affliction one way or another.

Interviewer: Are there any specific attributes about spirituality that provide an anchor in times of distress?

Patient: Christianity is about submitting to a higher purpose. God has good plans for me, therefore, if harm comes my way it is all part of God’s plan. Maybe the Lord wants to display his strength, and I just have to trust him, or my pain is somehow supposed to be a testimony for someone else who is suffering. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Interviewer: Are there any resources from your spiritual history that you would prefer to be incorporated in your treatment plan?

Patient: Yes. Kindly notify my family to bring my Bible and study book. Also, I would prefer to connect with my local church ministry through social media, television, or radio. There is a prayer and fasting revival that is to begin next week, and I would not want to miss it despite the pain.

Interviewer: Are you concerned about any medical procedures that may assist or interfere with your spiritual convictions regarding your treatment?

Patient: Please do not give me any medicinal marijuana. I am not supposed to consume any hallucinogenic substance. Also, I would have to skip lunch starting from next week since that is when the prayer and fasting revival begins.

Part II: Analysis

The spiritual assessment tool provided crucial insight on the patient’s current mental state. Mainly, the patient’s spirituality seemed to offer effective coping strategies since there were minimal signs of depression. The patient was very cooperative and open about his spiritual preferences and how they manifest in medical perspectives. However, in future, some of the questions will be modified to prevent introducing aspects that interfere with the treatment process.

Especially, the question reflecting on the spiritual resources that can be implemented in the treatment plan tends to invoke a controversial response; therefore, it will be modified as a suggestion as opposed to the indication that the resources can indeed be incorporated despite their negative influence on health dynamics.

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 The patient answered all the questions asked. However, he appeared to have a limited attention span which may be affected by pain associated with his condition. As such, his response was very slow. Interactive communication strategies that sustain active engagement can be used in future in anticipation of challenges when the patients are required to respond (Katz, 2015). Additionally, a more open approach should be applied on a general basis since some patients may not have any spiritual affiliations. For instance, the first question can suggest to the patient that he or she has the right to refuse involvement in the conversation by incorporating terms like ‘May I ask about your religious orientation?’

The spiritual exercise facilitated a healthy interaction between the interviewer and the patient, enabling documentation of attitudes towards the current condition. Therefore, physicians and nurses can anticipate certain reactions from the patient during the treatment program. For instance, suggestions of medicinal marijuana to minimize pain and strain due to chemotherapy should not be made to ensure that the patient does not lose confidence in the treatment.

The illness had a consistent implication on the patient’s spiritual needs. The interviewee believed that Jesus would aid him in his times of need; therefore, more pain or distress required additional religious influence as an anchor. The spiritual assessment tool identifies holistic resources that should improve the patient’s experience. In scenarios whereby the interviewee does not have any religious or spiritual convictions, the physician can focus on whether the patient believes he or she has some purpose in life.

In conclusion, the spiritual assessment tool enables patients, nurses, and doctors to develop effective communication strategies. The nurses can monitor changes in behavior and offer timely intervention to prevent cases of depression (Christ, Messner & Behar, 2015). Ultimately, a patient’s psychological and social orientation should provide a support system that should be applied in the treatment strategy. Additionally, since the placebo effect proves the physiological benefits of belief, the benefits of the spiritual assessment tool should be prioritized.


Christ, G. H., Messner, C., & Behar, L. C. (2015). Handbook of oncology social work: Psychosocial care for people with cancer.

Katz, A. (2015). Meeting the need for psychosocial care in young adults with cancer.

McSherry, W., & Ross, L. (2010). Spiritual assessment in healthcare practice. Keswick, England: M & K.

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