The recent surge of interest in links between spirituality and health has generated many assessment approaches that seek to identify spiritual need and suggest strategic responses for health care practitioners.
The interpretations of spirituality made within health frameworks do not do justice to the way spirituality is understood in society in general.
Spiritual assessment should not impose a view or definition of spirituality, but should seek to elicit the thoughts, memories and experiences that give coherence to a person’s life.
Spiritual assessment tools should not be used without adequate exploration of the assumptions made. Assessment processes need to be adequately conceptualised and practically relevant.
- 1. Boyd K. Disease, illness, sickness, health, healing and wholeness: exploring some elusive concepts. Med Humanit 2000; 26: 9-17.
- 2. Borg J, Andree B, Soderstrom H, Farde L. The serotonin system and spiritual experiences. Am J Psychiatry 2003; 160: 1965-1969.
- 3. Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization. Adopted by the International Health Conference held in New York, 19 Jun to 22 Jul 1946; signed on 22 Jul 1946 by the representatives of 61 states (Official Records of the WHO, No. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 Apr 1948. http://www.who.int/governance/eb/who_constitution_en.pdf (accessed Apr 2007).
- 4. Engel G. The need for a new medical model: a challenge for biomedicine. Science 1977; 196: 129-136.
- 5. Sulmasy D. A biopsychosocial–spiritual model for the care of patients at the end of life. Gerontologist 2002; 42: 24-33.
- 6. McIllmurray M, Francis B, Harman J, et al. Psychosocial needs in cancer patients related to religious belief. Palliat Med 2003; 17: 49-54.
- 7. Marmot M, Wilkinson R, editors. Social determinants of health. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
- 8. Holt C, Kyles A, Wiehagen T, Casey C. Development of a spiritually based breast cancer education booklet for African American women. Cancer Control 2003; 10 (5 Suppl): S37-S44.
- 9. Frank A. The wounded storyteller: body, illness and ethics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
- 10. Rumbold B, editor. Spirituality and palliative care: social and pastoral perspectives. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2002.
- 11. Tudor L, Keemar K, Tudor K, et al. The person-centred approach: a contemporary introduction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
- 12. Little M, Paul K, Jordens C, Sayers E. Survivorship and discourses of identity. Psychooncol 2002; 11: 170-178.
- 13. Wright M. Good for the soul?: the spiritual dimension of hospice and palliative care. In: Payne S, Seymour J, Ingleton C, editors. Palliative care nursing: principles and evidence for practice. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, 2004: 218-240.
- 14. Dyson J, Cobb M, Forman D. The meaning of spirituality: a literature review. J Adv Nurs 1997; 26: 1183-1188.
- 15. Damasio A. Looking for Spinoza: joy, sorrow and the feeling brain. London: Vintage, 2003.
- 16. Cohen S, Mount B, Bruera E, et al. Validity of the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire in the palliative care setting: a multi-centre Canadian study demonstrating the importance of the existential domain. Palliat Med 1997; 11: 3-20.
- 17. Nordstrom C. The influence of spirituality on quality of life and pain in the terminally ill: an exploratory study of the patient perspective to develop an empirical model. QoL Newsletter (MAPI Research Institute) 2003; 31: 20-22.
- 18. Fetzer Institute. Multidimensional measurement of religiousness/spirituality for use in health research: a report of the Fetzer Institute/National Institute on Aging Working Group. Kalamazoo, Mich: Fetzer Institute, 1999.
- 19. Idler E, Musick M, Ellison C, et al. Measuring multiple dimensions of religion and spirituality for health research. Res Aging 2003; 25: 327-365.
- 20. Gorsuch RL, Miller WR. Assessing spirituality. In: Miller WR, editor. Integrating spirituality into treatment: resources for practitioners. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1999: 47-64.
- 21. Rumbold B. Caring for the spirit: lessons from working with the dying. Med J Aust 2003; 179 (6 Suppl): S11-S13. <MJA full text>
- 22. Hudson R, Rumbold B. Spiritual care. In: O’Connor M, Aranda S, editors. Palliative care nursing. 2nd ed. Melbourne: Ausmed, 2003.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.