1. In this study, almost all patients approved of the proposed history taking prompts related to patient spirituality, and there was a high level of patient acceptability.
2. Furthermore, conversation prompts which did not have religious connotations and focused on individual values were most effective in eliciting spiritual concerns.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Spirituality is well documented to provide several health benefits, which has led to its incorporation in healthcare settings. In Australia, however, there has been little evidence regarding the preferred way to engage in spiritual discussions and spiritual history-taking which has prevented it from being routine practice. As a result, the objective of the present mixed methods cross sectional study was to identify the preferred wording for discussing spirituality in a hospital setting, and the demographic features of patients in relation to their preferences regarding spiritual history-taking.
Participants were identified and recruited from 6 hospitals across Sydney, Australia and were asked to participate in a survey and a qualitative interview to explain survey responses. The survey included demographic information and questions on spirituality. 897 participants completed the survey (n=422 female) and 41 were interviewed. Quantitative data was analyzed using Fischer’s Exact tests and Crammer’s V. Qualitative data was coded using theoretical thematic analysis.
Results demonstrated that almost all patients approved of the proposed historical history prompts and there was a high level of patient acceptability. Furthermore, conversation prompts which did not have religious connotations and focused on individual values were most effective in eliciting spiritual concerns. Despite these findings, the study was limited by the exclusion of seriously ill patients who may have had different spiritual needs. Nonetheless, this study demonstrated that most patients were happy to be asked about spirituality by clinical staff, and that conversation prompts which focused on individual values were most effective in speaking about spiritual concerns.
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