A spiritual assessment refers to the process of identifying the spiritual needs that may assist in a patient's health care. The outcomes of a thorough spiritual assessment include the determination of a patient’s spiritual needs and the evaluation of the impact of his beliefs on health care outcomes and decisions. A spiritual assessment also involves discovering all the barriers to employing spiritual resources in bettering a patient’s health care.
Belief systems can have profound effects on a person’s health care encounter, and it is, therefore, important to factor in spiritual assessment as part of a health care plan. Some of the barriers to spiritual assessment that physicians face include the lack of enough experience, difficulty in pointing out patients who require spiritual assessment and the lack of proper direction in conducting the procedure.
Some of the popular spiritual assessment tools include Open Invite, HOPE and FICA. These tools provide an efficient means of eliciting a patient’s thoughts on spirituality so as to determine his most pressing spiritual needs. By stressing emphatic listening, encouraging patients to make use of their faith traditions in enhancing their treatment plans and documenting their spiritual references, physicians are able to offer enhanced health support to their patients.