Obtaining a patient’s spiritual history

In an earlier post I quoted from an article by Dr. Christina Puchalski on the physician’s role in providing spiritual care. Here, Dr. Puchalski outlines the essential components of taking a spiritual history using the acronym, F. I. C. A.

Considering the prevalence of prayer as a form of CAM, this acronym should be useful to healthcare providers. It also provides a guide to patients on what is appropriate information to provide during a doctor visit.

F. Faith and belief

  • Ask: Are there spiritual beliefs that help you cope with stress or difficult times? What gives your life meaning?

I. Importance and influence

  • Ask: Is spirituality important in your life? What influence does it have on how you take care of yourself? Are there any particular decisions regarding your health that might be affected by these beliefs?

C. Community

  • Ask: Are you part of a spiritual or religious community?

A. Address/action

  • Think about what you as the health care provider needs to do with the information the patient shared (eg, refer to a chaplain, meditation or yoga classes, or another spiritual resource).

Speaking with the hospital chaplain will provide insight to available resources.

    7/11/06 00:51 JR
Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.