1. According to this study, majority of patients found a spiritual history (SH) to be helpful.
2. Many patients who had a longer conversation about spirituality with their general practitioner reported a better relationship with their provider.
Evidence Rating Level: 3 (Average)
Spirituality is considered to be a dimension of being human and as such, healthcare providers should explore patient’s spirituality to better provide support in this area, especially in older adults. As a first contact for health issues, general practitioners (GPs) are well suited to integrate this aspect of humanity into the healthcare of patients. Consequently, the objective of the present mixed-methods study was to investigate the patient’s views concerning the value of eliciting a patient’s spiritual history as well as its effects.
The present study was part of the Holistic Care Program for Elderly Patients to Integrate Spiritual Needs,Social Activity and Self-Care into Disease Management in Primary Care (HoPE53) trial which has been previously published. 133 patients were invited to participate in a semi-structured telephone interview from February-June 2020 and a written survey 2 weeks after the social history. In total, 29 qualitative interviews were conducted. Patients were included if they were ≥70 years old and had at least 3 chronic diseases. The data analysis was performed with Reflexive Thematic Analysis.
The results demonstrated that most patients found the spiritual history to be helpful. Furthermore, many patients who had a longer conversation about spirituality with their general practitioner reported having a better relationship with them. The present study was limited by the heterogeneity in interviews due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where participants could originally choose between a face-to-face interview and a phone interview. Nonetheless, this study was significant in highlighting the importance of eliciting a spiritual history in elderly patients.
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