Including Spirituality and Religion in Eboni’s Initial Assessment
The conceptualizations of spirituality and religion would be included in the patient’s (Eboni) first evaluation because they represent critical components of patient care. A literature review conducted by Saguil and Phelps (2012) showed that patients expect their health providers to inquire about their religious beliefs and consider their spiritual needs. The American Family Physician practice guidelines also mandate all healthcare providers to conduct a spiritual assessment upon a patient’s admission. This thus underscores the significance of incorporating the concept of spirituality during the delivery of patient care as a guide for developing comprehensive treatment plans for patients.
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Spiritual care would also be included in the client’s initial assessment because it has been proven to generate positive health outcomes in primary care. Most patients have spiritual needs, and therefore, a spiritual evaluation should be part of routine clinical practice. More than eighty percent of Americans consider religion an essential element of their lives (Saguil & Phelps, 2012). Additionally, spirituality influences medical decisions and behaviors and a patient’s ability to cope with his or her underlying medical conditions (Isaac et al., 2016).
Another rationale for integrating spiritual care into clinical practice is that spiritual-centered care can positively impact patient-reported outcomes. A study conducted by Isaac et al. (2016) showed that incorporating spirituality in clinical procedures can trigger significant improvements in patients’ self-efficacy, support systems, and coping strategies. One of the most significant positive outcomes of including spiritual care in clinical processes is a strong clinician-patient relationship (Isaac et al., 2016; Saguil & Phelps, 2012). Trust and rapport between the health provider and client are built, which, in turn, improves the adherence to clinical recommendations.
Strategies to Ensure that Personal Values Don’t Impact Practice
Eboni might make decisions that can pose ethical dilemmas or violate one’s values. However, imposing individualistic values on this particular patient is not recommended because it contradicts the autonomy principle in clinical settings. The elements of cultural awareness will be employed as a strategy against the likelihood of obtruding my moral values on Eboni. Cultural awareness is characterized by adequate knowledge, competencies, and skills to recognize and understand the similarities and disparities between a healthcare provider’s culture and the patient’s culture. A self-awareness assessment test can also be done to ascertain my values, feelings, and attitudes towards other cultures. The self-awareness test will also aid in identifying the cultural issues that provoke strong reactions. Strategies that foster my capacity to respect and understand Eboni’s decisions and culture will also be developed; these strategies include relational accounts and participative decision-making.
How to Address the Crisis that Eboni is Experiencing?
Internalized religious constructs may influence an individual’s actions, behaviors, and interpretation of life experiences. The beliefs can facilitate positive outcomes by providing hope, support, and optimism to patients in adversity. On the other hand, internalizing inappropriate religious beliefs may result in psychopathology (Pearce et al., 2015). Eboni had brought up her religious concerns and highlighted how these concerns were mentally affecting her. The patient pointed out that she is indecisive because of her religious beliefs and those of her family and friends. It is my responsibility as a healthcare provider to identify Eboni’s spiritual needs and subsequently develop effective interventions to resolve the identified issues.
To increase my cultural knowledge of Eboni, I would conduct a religious and spiritual assessment immediately after Eboni brings up the subject of religion. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) advises healthcare practitioners to consider the patient’s casual remarks on religion as cues to engage or initiate spiritual/religious conversations (Saguil & Phelps, 2012). It is easier to start a spiritual dialogue when the client introduces the topic without prompting. Following a patient’s cue can also help the provider appear coercive and intrusive.
The assessment will also help recognize the underlying spiritual challenges that affect the patient and influence her decision-making. The client’s spiritual beliefs will be documented for future reference, and the knowledge built from the evaluation process will be used to guide her into making an informed decision. Shared decision-making involves the collaboration between a client and a healthcare provider to select an evidence-based decision based on the patient’s informed preference. Therefore, my role as a social worker is to help Eboni unearth her spiritual needs and make informed decisions independently.
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Isaac, K. S., Hay, J. L., & Lubetkin, E. I. (2016). Incorporating spirituality in primary care. Journal of Religion and Health, 55(3), 1065–1077. Web.
Saguil, A., & Phelps, K. (2012). Practice guidelines: The spiritual assessment. American Family Physician, 86(6), 546–550. Web.