A spiritual assessment is a part of the comprehensive assessment that is performed upon evaluation and admission to home care. The spiritual care services provided should be consistent with the belief systems of the patient and family. Many home care programs have a network of community clergy who provide support and spiritual care to patients, and Homeliving Health Providers, Inc. has its own chaplain team who work with the local community spiritual representatives. Responsibilities of the chaplain team may include providing bereavement counseling, serving on ethics committees, supporting staff and attending team meetings, performing sacraments for the sick, and intervening in other ways.
The chaplain provides services that span the life continuum from birth through death. The chaplain, like the professional nurse, interacts with patients and their families and friends at some of the most difficult times of their lives. The struggle with the meaning of life, experienced by many who have significant health concerns, is the work of the chaplain, regardless of any formal religious beliefs. The role varies based on the setting, the patient and family, and other needs. It may include bereavement counseling, ethics committees, home care staff support, and sacraments for the sick. The chaplain facilitates the patient’s movement toward his or her resolution of life’s questions.
Patients who may benefit from chaplaincy services include those for whom the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association-International (NANDA-I) nursing diagnosis, spiritual distress (distress of the human spirit), has been identified as an appropriate nursing diagnosis. Other patients may have a need for spiritual care based on their health problems. For example, the older adult patient who is temporarily home-bound due to a recent fall and fracture and cannot attend church services may need a call made to the priest or minister to arrange visits to the home.