Hospice Patient and Family Carer Perspectives on Nurse Spiritual Assessment

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Nurses are often the clinicians who conduct at least an initial spiritual assessment; they do so typically by verbally asking questions. This study explores what is the client perspective about nurses asking spiritual assessment questions. A convenience sample of 70 Aotearoa/New Zealand hospice inpatients and family carers completed an investigator-designed questionnaire developed for the purpose of this study. Nonparametric statistics measured associations between variables. No significant differences were observed between patients’ and carers’ perspectives on being asked spiritual assessment questions. In general, respondents were “okay” with being asked spiritual assessment questions. However, some did not relate to or want to be asked spiritual assessment questions; likewise, some wanted to be asked. These perspectives about being asked spiritual questions were associated with self-reported religiosity, spirituality, and ethnicity. Findings can help nurses to understand that diverse client perspectives exist and can give nurses an informed sensitivity with which to approach spiritual assessment.

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