Q.1. Who or what provides you with strength and hope?
Well, I suppose that my greatest support is my family. My husband makes me stronger, children make me feel needed, and a tiny granddaughter is my inspiration. I want them to be happy, so I try not to focus on my disease. Of course, God gives me hope in the most difficult periods. A silent prayer makes me feel calm and peaceful.
Q.2. How would you describe your philosophy of life?
I am not much of a philosopher, you know. I believe that the best philosophy is to be grateful for every new day you live. I try to face life problems as something that will end early or late. If I can change the situation, I do my best. In case I cannot, I will wait till it changes to good.
Q.3. What type of spiritual/religious support do you usually desire?
Well, I think that church and a good word of a pastor are important for every person of my age. We already value spirituality more than physical. I need my Sunday visits to the church. They give me ideas to think and questions to ask.
Q.4. How do you keep going day after day?
I just wake up and say thanks for it. I have my rituals due to the disease. I have to take medications at certain times to avoid acute conditions. I cannot say I feel well every day but I can see, walk, talk to my beloved people and I cannot desire more.
Q.5. How has illness affected you and your family?
We became closer to each other. We realized that life is so fragile. Well, they also follow my healthy diet, it was their choice. But it is also supportive. They do a lot for me to feel like a healthy person. It is the best help I can desire, I feel better when they are near.
The patient I have interviewed is my neighbor, a 78-year-old woman. She was diagnosed with diabetes six years ago. In addition, she has had asthma since she was ten. Moreover, age-related conditions such as hypertension influence her daily life. She lives with her big family, a husband, three daughters with their husbands, and a granddaughter. As a nurse, I was interested in how she manages her conditions and her spiritual needs. Moreover, I wanted to figure out about the care practice at home because many carers consider it a problem (Ewing & Grande, 2012).
I think the interview was successful. The patient feels positive about her conditions and provides perfect self-management. She was eager to answer the questions.
I did not notice any barriers during the assessment. The assessment tool was developed based on the medical record of The Joint Commission (The Joint Commission. (n.d.). Moreover, the selection of questions was fulfilled with the consideration of the patient’s characteristics (Sharma, Astrow, Texeria, & Sulmasy, 2012). For any similar assessment, it is important to consider the patient’s age, gender, education, race, etc. It would be helpful to have some information on the patient’s religious preferences before the assessment to adjust the questionnaire.
A spiritual needs assessment is crucial for planning appropriate interventions to meet the needs of every patient. For example, if the patient is religious, the visit of a pastor for a talk can inspire a person to more successful treatment. In addition, a nurse can suggest suitable literature from the hospital library to support the patient. Some people consider themselves spiritual but not religious and can find help in other sources. It is the task of a nurse to reveal these sources through the assessment of spiritual needs. For example, in case the patient finds support in the family, a nurse can invite the family members to be near the ill person.
I suppose that illness and stress slightly changed the spiritual concerns and needs of my interviewee. On the whole, I have noticed that elderly people have more diverse spiritual needs than youth. They already understand their condition and the possible outcomes of the illness. Thus, they usually realize what they need. My patient has always been religious but the disease changed her attitude to God from demanding to more calm and thoughtful.
Her life philosophy, for example, is more positive than it is among many young people. The patient believes that any negative events in her life will end, and it helps her to stay positive. She accepted her diseases as inevitable things that she cannot change. However, she knows how to help herself and follows the doctor’s recommendations, and takes the prescribed medications. Possibly due to her attitude, she is still active and cheerful. I think she is a highly spiritual person. She values her life and tries to improve its quality. She is aware of her spiritual needs and does her best to satisfy them. Her case is an example of a successful patient home-care.
Ewing, G., & Grande, G. (2012). Development of carer support needs assessment tool (CSNAT) for end-of-life care practice at home: A qualitative study. Palliative Medicine, 0(0), 1-13. Web.
Sharma, R.K., Astrow, A.B., Texeria, K., & Sulmasy, D.P. (2012). The spiritual needs assessment for patients (SNAP): Development and validation of a comprehensive instrument to assess unmet spiritual needs. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 44(1), 44-51. Web.
The Joint Commission. (n.d.). Medical record – Spiritual assessment. Web.