Part 1: Interview Questions and Responses
Tool for Assessing the Spiritual Needs of Patients
The following interview is for a cancer patient at hospice care. During my visit, I got the opportunity to interview the patient on his spiritual needs.
During your stay in the hospice care have you had the need,
1. To evaluate your life?
Yes, I usually have the need to assess my life and especially now that I know of my illness that is terminal. Most of the times, I review about my past life and relationship with God. It is important to me because I know that a good relationship with God is all I need to have a good death when my time comes.
2. To feel accepted as an individual?
Aaam, yes, definitely, as a human being and in my condition, I would like other people to accept me the way I am. It is not my fault to be sick. It is just a situation that has caught me like others in this hospice care. Especially my family, these are the people I expect the greatest acceptance.
3. To feel hopeful and thankful?
Of course, I have a lot to be thankful about and especially my life. I thank God for the life I have. When I wake up every day, I am grateful and hopeful that I will have more days left to live
4. To get someone to pray with you or for you?
I am a Christian and believe in prayer. I accept when people come and pray with me. I also make prayer requests from my family and friends. Getting someone to pray with and others to pray for is one thing that gives me hope as I live every day. It gives me hope and strength to continue fighting with my sickness.
5. To have peace and gratification?
Having peace is important to me and especially in my condition now. I encourage myself and accept as much as possible to be content with the way I am. I know that I am only sick and worrying too much will not help me but worsen my ailment. Therefore, I try to have peace and feel contented as much as possible.
6. To receive kindness and compassion?
Kindness and compassion as a person with a chronic disease are important to me. I need others to be kind and compassionate to me. When people treat me well, I feel better and worthy to live again.
7. To talk about death and dying with someone?
Sometimes, I want someone to discuss death and other times I am scared knowing that death is the direction I am heading. I want to talk about death and dying when I am hopeful for a good end. I am scared of talking about this topic when I know I will be gone forever.
8. To be loved and love others?
For me, love is what keeps me going. Loving others and being loved provides me with the hope of experiencing life differently as a sick person. When I love others, I feel part of the community, and when others love me, feel accepted the way I am, and it makes me stronger inside.
Part 2: Essay
Religion, as well as spirituality, is important in coping with stress and illness in patients and especially those with chronic illnesses (Seeman Dubin & Seeman, 2003). The interview with the cancer patient gave me the experience of understanding his spiritual needs. The conversation went well between the patient who was willing to share his views based on the questions I asked and me. Given the opportunity in future, I would ask the different spiritual issues experienced by the patient. For example, I will ask about the need for forgiveness to others and himself and if humor or laughter plays any role in achieving a better life considering his illness situation. During the interview, I did not experience significant challenges or barriers that inhibited my ability to complete the assessment tool. The only challenge was to seek permission from the institution management to interview the patient. They allowed me to carry out the interview within the shortest time possible. I was only given twenty minutes to interview the patient and allow him to rest as he is required to do many of the times for the hospice care. In future, I will address this problem by using a self-guided questionnaire to obtain much of the information from the patient without the need for requiring him to talk a lot. Using the questionnaire I will collect more information within a shorter time.
I can say that my experience with the patient was good. The interview questions guided me on what information to collect so as to obtain the required answers. It assisted me in identifying the spiritual needs categories that a patient may have during the care. For example, I learned that patients have the spiritual needs of reviewing their lives, hope, contentment, love, talk about death, kindness and compassion. I can relate my findings with those of Galek et al. (2005) and Taylor & Amenta (1994) who noted that cancer patients have the spiritual needs of gratitude, hope, evaluating their lives, give and receive love, the need to prepare for death and religiosity. I can say that the interview guide allowed me to meet the needs of my patient in one way better by having someone to talk to about himself and his life during the last days.
During the interview, I also discovered that the illness and stress of the patient increased the spiritual concern and his needs spiritually. For example, having cancer is a condition that worried the patient. It made him concerned about his life and whether he will be in the appropriate relationship with God when he dies. The patient was stressed if people did not accept him with his condition. He required people close to him to pray together and minimize his worries of dying soon. These are indications that stress and illness of the patient contributed to his need to rebuild his spiritual life. It means that nurses should also meet the spiritual needs of patients and this should form part of the healthcare provided to those at hospice care.
Galek, K., Flannelly, K., Vane, A., & Galek, R. (2005). Assessing a Patient’s Spiritual Needs a Comprehensive Instrument. Holistic Nursing Practice, 19(2):62–69.
Seeman, T., Dubin, L., & Seeman, M. (2003). Religiosity/spirituality and health: a critical review of the evidence for biological pathways. American Psychology, 58(1):53–63.
Taylor, E., & Amenta, M. (1994). Cancer nurses’ perspectives on spiritual care: implications for pastoral care. Journal of Pastoral Care, 48(3):259–265.
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