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The FACT Spiritual Assessment Tool

Abstract

The present paper employs the FACT spiritual assessment tool to conduct an assessment interview with a recovering patient and demonstrate how the tool works by undertaking a critical analysis of the interview results. Findings demonstrate that FACT raises care standards, minimizes patient risks, and ensures that nursing professionals are more accountable to their practice. The tool is effective in healthcare settings, but the challenges of communication, lack of provider confidence and cultural bias need to be addressed.

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Introduction

Nursing scholars envisage that spiritual assessment avails an approach to enhance patient outcomes and satisfaction by minimizing patient anxiety and fears in addition to availing clarity and direction to the nursing professionals regarding patient’s personal desires and preferences (Chrash, Mulich & Patton, 2011), and that it provides an enabling framework through which nurses can implement spiritual care in practice, especially in terms of meaning, purpose and fulfillment (Cockell & McSherry, 2012). The present paper proposes to employ the FACT spiritual assessment tool (LaRocca-Pitts, 2012) to conduct an assessment interview with a recovering asthmatic patient and demonstrate how the tool works by undertaking a critical analysis of the findings. The FACT spiritual assessment tool raises care standards, minimizes patient risks, and ensures that nursing professionals are more accountable to their practice.

FACT Spiritual Assessment Tool

Developed by LaRocca-Pitts (2012), FACT concerns itself with underlying issues of faith, activeness or engagement in a faith community, patient coping mechanisms and sources of conflicts or concerns, as well as patient treatment plans. FACT provides professionals with an approach not only to monitor spiritual reflections to demonstrate how patients are progressing and adjusting to their illness, but also to understand indications about appropriate interventions to treatment challenges. The choice of this assessment tool has been informed by its ease of administration and capacity to prevent care providers from crossing ethical and professional boundaries when dealing with patients (LaRocca-Pitts, 2012).

Analysis

Summary of Findings and Significant Discoveries

In brief, the assessment findings demonstrate that the recovering patient has deep spiritual roots which not only assist her to find purpose and meaning in life, but also to cope with the presenting medical condition, and also to deal with various conflicts and concerns. A significant discovery from the assessment is that spirituality is a core component in the healing process as it provides patients with coping mechanisms to deal with the medical condition. Another discovery is that spirituality influences how patients perceive various treatment procedures, hence the need to undertake frequent spiritual assessments to provide person-centered spiritual care, holistic healing of patients, and superior job satisfaction for staff members (Richardson, 2012).

Areas of Strength and Limitations

It was discovered that FACT is easy to administer, reduces patient risks, enhances patient treatment outcomes, and also ensures that practitioners and therapists are accountable to their practice. The role of faith in assisting the patient to cope with her medical needs demonstrates that FACT avails a framework to facilitate patient outcomes and satisfaction by minimizing their anxiety and fears, in addition to availing clarity and direction to practitioners and therapists regarding patient’s personal desires and preferences (Chrash et al., 2011). However, in the future, it is plausible for FACT to incorporate a component on intervention to address spiritual needs. Additionally, FACT should incorporate measurement scales (e.g., Likert-type scales) and validity scales. Available literature demonstrates that such scales ensure reliability and consistency of findings (Borneman, Ferrell & Puchalski, 2010).

Barriers/Challenges

A major challenge entailed actively listening to the respondent. As demonstrated in the literature, most assessment tools incorporate open-ended questions, thus active listening and communication between the practitioner and patient is important in gaining an understanding of needs (Meehan 2012). The other barrier entailed lack of confidence during the initial stages of the interview for fear of being seen as intruding on the personal domain of the patient. These challenges can be addressed by gaining comprehensive skills on administering the assessment, and also by coming up with strategies aimed at involving the respondent in the planning and administration of the assessment. In hospital settings, a practitioner is also likely to face challenges in cultural bias and lack of provider confidence (Power, 2006).

Spiritual Experience

From the interview, it is evident that the respondent’s spirituality enhanced her relationship with God and assisted her to cope with her medical condition by removing elements of disappointment, hopelessness, guilt, as well as feeling distant from God, hence minimizing patient risks. The spiritual experience also assisted in understanding the needs of the respondent from spiritual and treatment standpoints, hence providing an avenue through which care standards could be raised in actual intervention settings. This tool is important in meeting the needs of the respondent as (1) spirituality is known to affect the prognosis of an illness and predict how patients will cope, (2) findings will assist the patient to work through the impact of their illness on their belief system to discover meaning, (3) the patient will have a better understanding on how she is progressing and adjusting to her illness, and (4) findings often assist to provide indications about suitable interventions to treat problems (Power, 2006).

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Conclusion

Drawing from the discussion and analysis, it can be concluded that FACT is an important tool not only in raising care standards and minimizing patient risks, but also in ensuring that nursing professionals are more accountable to their practice. The tool can be adopted in healthcare settings, but the challenges of active listening and effective communication, lack of provider confidence and cultural bias need to be addressed to make the tool more effective in addressing the spiritual and medical needs of patients. Interventions should be administered depending on how the respondent/patient is coping with the items included in the interview process.

References

Borneman, T., Ferrell, B., & Puchalski, C.M. (2010). Evaluation of the FICA tool for spiritual assessment. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 40(2), 163-173.

Chrash, M., Mulich, B., & Patton, C.M. (2011). The APN role in holistic assessment and integration of spiritual assessment for advance care planning. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 23(10), 530-536.

Cockell, N., & McSherry, W. (2012). Spiritual care in nursing: An overview of published international research. Journal of Nursing Management, 20(3), 958-969.

LaRocca-Pitts, M. (2012). FACT, A chaplain’s tool for assessing spiritual needs in an acute care setting. e-Journal of the Association of Professional Chaplains, 28(1), 25-32.

Meehan, T.C. (2012). Spirituality and spiritual care from a careful nursing perspective. Journal of Nursing Management, 20(8), 990-1001.

Power, J. (2006). Spiritual assessments: Developing an assessment tool. Nursing Older People, 18(2), 16-18.

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Richardson, P. (2012). Assessment and implementation of spirituality and religiosity in cancer care: Effects on patient outcomes. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 16(4), 150-155.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The FACT Spiritual Assessment Tool." April 30, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-fact-spiritual-assessment-tool/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The FACT Spiritual Assessment Tool'. 30 April.

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