Assessing the spiritual needs of patients

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Assessing the spiritual needs of patients

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Assessing spirituality and the spiritual needs of patients is fundamental to providing effective spiritual care. This article, the second in a series of three, discusses the assessment of patients’ spirituality and spiritual needs in healthcare settings. Several formal spiritual assessment tools are available to assist nurses to identify patients’ spiritual needs and to determine whether they are experiencing spiritual distress. However, it may be more appropriate to assess patients’ spirituality informally, by asking open questions about their spiritual beliefs and needs. It is important for nurses to be aware of the limits of their competence in undertaking spiritual assessment and providing spiritual care, and to refer patients to the healthcare chaplain or other spiritual support personnel where necessary. The third and final article in this series will discuss spiritual care nursing interventions.

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