hello haikucatlady. welcome to allnurses.
in regards to addressing the spiritual needs of patients... all patients have spiritual needs. spiritual needs do not necessarily equate to religious needs. these needs do need to be assessed. in the united states, joint commission on accreditation of healthcare organizations (jcaho) requires that a spiritual assessment be completed on every patient. because nurses work closely with the sick and dying, they often find themselves called upon to address a patient’s spiritual needs. at the same time, they may be concerned about the appropriateness of such activities, as well as have questions on how to proceed. although not all nurses feel comfortable providing spiritual care in all situations, they should be sensitive to the spiritual needs of their patients.
many nurses feel both comfortable and confident in engaging in spiritual care activities such as praying with patients and listening to spiritual concerns. these activities may be appropriately carried out by the nurse only if acceptable to the patient and the family. in order to provide respectful care, it is necessary to refrain from using the clinical setting or professional authority to promote any type of religion or particular spiritual practices.
when a patient is faced with a health crisis, he or she may seek spiritual nourishment, even if this has not been a typical part of the person’s day-to-day life. patients who are members of a particular faith tradition, and those who are not, may want prayer or other forms of spiritual activities to be part of the care they receive from health care professionals. or they may not. either way, health care professionals who want to provide spiritually nurturing and ethically sensitive care need to think carefully about the place of spiritual care in professional service.
chaplains should not be the only providers of spiritual care for patients and their families. much of the spiritual and religious support comes from other people, including parish nurses, clergy, family and friends of patients, volunteers representing different faith communities or congregations, and others. although their personal spiritual beliefs may differ from those of the patient, medical staff can also address the spiritual needs of the patient. all medical personnel (believers and non-believers alike) must not let their personal beliefs get in the way of providing quality care for all of the patient's needs.....including spiritual needs.
you can find more discussion about spiritual needs of patients in the following allnurses staff blogs.
the nurse's role in providing spiritual care -is it ok to pray?
who is responsible for discussing end-of-life treatment options?
spiritual beliefs and end of life care
self-assessment of your beliefs about death and dying