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PHI 413 Benchmark- Patient’s Spiritual Needs: Case Analysis

PHI 413 Benchmark- Patient’s Spiritual Needs Case Analysis

The patient’s health is multifaceted since multiple factors must be incorporated into patient care to promote healing. Besides medication and a healthy patient-provider relationship, healthcare providers should be aware of the patient’s spirituality and how it affects decision-making. Spirituality/religion/faith is among the critical components of culturally competent care (Rachel et al., 2019). However, some patients or family members usually overlook modern medication and opt for spiritual guidance, a decision that may further risk the patient’s health. As a result, healthcare practitioners must be aware of the influence of beliefs and help patients to make shrewd decisions. The purpose of this paper is to answer various questions related to the case study with emphasis on the connection between spiritual needs, Christian worldview, and decision-making.

  1. Allowing Mike to Continue Making Decisions

As revealed in the case study, Mike opted for faith healing which backfired. He had witnessed faith healing helping in a previous case and thought it would help his child. Generally, Mike’s decisions are irrational and do not promote healing. From a medical perspective, the physician should not allow the patient to continue making such decisions. However, the patient’s autonomy is supreme, and there is little that the physician can do when a patient or the family seeks spiritual intervention. In agreement with Bester (2020), healthcare professionals have an obligation to promote beneficence and nonmaleficence. Promoting these principles requires practitioners to help patients and families make rational decisions that promote comprehensive healing.

Spirituality is a vital component of the patient’s life that cannot be overlooked. According to Anderson (2015), the role of healthcare practitioners is to respond to patients’ suffering with compassion and solidarity. Their primary role is to care for patients and ensure that the patient is as comfortable as possible. In medicine and bioethics, autonomy is highly rated since it guides religious beliefs about healing. Denying Mike the opportunity to make decisions would be violating his right to patient autonomy. However, due to the need to preserve the quality of life, make decisions that benefit the patient, and the importance of avoiding harm, the physician should help Mike to understand the situation and the implications of his decisions. They should make a joint decision that respects everyone’s wishes and prioritizes the patient’s health and quality of life.

  1. Christian Thinking about Sickness and Health

The Christian thinking about sickness and health cannot be detached from the biblical teaching on illness and suffering. Besides death,

PHI 413 Benchmark- Patient's Spiritual Needs Case Analysis

PHI 413 Benchmark- Patient’s Spiritual Needs Case Analysis

pain, suffering, and illness are all effects of the fall (Hoehner, 2020). The implication is that it is typical to witness Christians believing that illnesses are a punishment for sin, which broke their relationship with God. As a result, seeking divine/spiritual interventions when a Christian falls sick is guided by religious beliefs. On the other hand, health denotes freedom from the punishment of sin and living as originally designed. It is the ordinary state of life and sickness represents the distorted state.

Christians refer to the biblical teachings to interpret sickness and health. However, that is only one dimension of what sickness and health entail and may limit them to spiritual interventions when sick. A Christian should have a broadened view of health and sickness to think about medical interventions positively. Hoehner (2020) explained how humans are created in the image of God and are obliged to maintain this image. Part of this role includes using God’s gift of knowledge to improve the quality of life. Also, medical interventions do not interfere with Christian spirituality. They are there to help people restore their health and work universally across all religions.

As a Christian, Mike should understand that sickness, health, and healing are multidimensional. Spirituality is crucial since it helps with the psychological aspect of healing (Bożek et al., 2020). It gives hope, calmness, and assurance that the patient’s health will be restored. However, it cannot work in exclusion of other interventions and primarily medical assistance. Since the physician can also ascertain the practical benefits of dialysis and other interventions, Mike should embrace them fully to ensure that his son recovers fully. Therefore, he should agree with dialysis and kidney transplant as he continues with divine interventions.

The patient’s autonomy is one component of bioethical principles. However, it should not supersede other principles since the patient’s quality of life cannot be maintained without prioritizing the beneficence and nonmaleficence principles. As Bester (2020), beneficence is crucial for the overall well-being of a person. Healthcare professionals are bound by the Hippocratic Oath to help patients in all beneficial ways. As a result, James should understand that there is nothing wrong with trusting God for healing, but it cannot replace other interventions. Indeed, it may violate the principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence if it leads to a situation where James’s health deteriorates.

  1. Importance of a Spiritual Needs Assessment

A provider’s beliefs must not necessarily align with those of a patient, but it is crucial to ensure that health practices respect a patient’s spirituality. According to Anandarajah (2005), spirituality goes beyond a patient’s religious beliefs to include cognition and other practices that help patients to connect with high power. Spirituality also includes secular values that help patients make decisions regarding care and cope with a disease and its stressors effectively. A spiritual needs assessment would help the physician to identify the religious and spiritual needs that should be factored into the treatment plan to enhance James’s healing. For instance, religious beliefs affect how patients and families interpret medical practices, including end-of-life decisions such as withdrawing life support machines (Reichman, 2005). Importantly, assessing spiritual needs and factoring them allows healthcare providers to avoid conflicting with the patient based on beliefs.

Patients and families also need resources and coping mechanisms. Religious practices such as prayers, meditation, and Bible reading are effective coping strategies. A needs assessment helps healthcare practitioners to determine the resources and coping strategies that match the patient’s spirituality. As Rachel et al. (2019) further mentioned, a spiritual needs assessment improves the patient-provider relationship since it helps providers facilitate patients and families with the needs of the soul. It is part of holism and assuring healing that James and his family require at this critical time.


Spirituality is a crucial aspect of patient care that healthcare professionals cannot overlook. It influences patients’ and families’ decision-making and affects health outcomes profoundly. Despite the need for patient autonomy, healthcare professionals are mandated to ensure that patients or family members do not make decisions that can harm a patient. The case study exemplifies such a scenario and shows the need for the physician to ensure that Mike understands the need for medical intervention. Spirituality is one aspect of healing, but medical interventions dominate all other processes.


Anderson, R. (2015). Always care, never kill: How physician-assisted suicide endangers the weak, corrupts medicine, compromises the family, and violates human dignity and equality. The Heritage Foundation. https://www.heritage.org/health-care-reform/report/always-care-never-kill-how-physician-assisted-suicide-endangers-the-weak

Anandarajah, G. (2005). Doing a culturally sensitive spiritual assessment: Recognizing spiritual themes and using the HOPE questions. AMA Journal of Ethics7(5), 371-374. https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/doing-culturally-sensitive-spiritual-assessment-recognizing-spiritual-themes-and-using-hope/2005-05

Bester, J. C. (2020). Beneficence, interests, and wellbeing in medicine: What it means to provide benefit to patients. The American Journal of Bioethics, 20(3), 53–62. doi:10.1080/15265161.2020.1714793

Bożek, A., Nowak, P. F., & Blukacz, M. (2020). The relationship between spirituality, health-related behavior, and psychological well-being. Frontiers in Psychology11, 1997. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01997

Hoehner, P. J. (2020). Death, dying, and grief. Practicing Dignity. https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/4

Rachel, H., Chiara, C., Robert, K., & Francesco, S. (2019). Spiritual care in nursing: An overview of the measures used to assess spiritual care provision and related factors amongst nurses. Acta Bio Medica: Atenei Parmensis90(Suppl 4), 44-55. https://doi.org/10.23750%2Fabm.v90i4-S.8300

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Topic 5 DQ 1

Sep 26-28, 2022

What is your definition of spiritual care? How does it differ or accord with the description given in the topic readings? Explain.



As nurses, we know that spirituality is part of the holistic health triad. Physical, mental, and spiritual health. For many people, spirituality is the basis of their outlook, worldview, and directly impacts their decisions in life choices. That said, spiritual care can mean different things to different people, depending on their spiritual beliefs, if they have any. According to our reading for this course, spirituality pertains to one’s soul, and typically, people make decisions based on what is best for it. Spirituality is thought to affect every portion of a person’s life, so medical decisions should not be made without considering this facto, and spiritual care should be implemented in making the patients treatment plans. I believe that spiritual care is whatever the patient says it is. This is why it is important that, on admission or during an initial assessment, this is discussed with the patient so that it can be accommodated. This may include prayer, reading scripture, seeing a Chaplin, performing rituals, or seeking out or avoiding certain treatments. From my standpoint of a nurse, it is imperative that these processes be respected and implemented. This can help in the patient’s healing process, as they look for answers as well as hope. I believe that spirituality positively impacts mental health, which also affects physical health. So, I see it as kind of a chain reaction. Examples of non-religious spirituality that I can think of would be things like meditating, journaling, or spending time in the outdoors with nature.


Evans, K. (2020). Intervention, Ethical Decision-Making, and Spiritual Care. Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in Health Care. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/5



You just left me thinking deeply that Spirituality cannot get an ultimate definition that suits all people at once, but can vary from person to person. There exists a lack of agreement around the definition of spirituality, indeed debate continues within the academic literature around the conceptualization and definition of both spirituality and religiosity (Harrad et al., 2019)People differ in the way they perceive spirituality and hence, the nurse should be always above to understand patients as individuals for quality care. One may agree with me that using the same technique on assisting and caring different patients can produce different results as patients are unique in the way they make decisions. Reviewing the Christian worldview, which is based on the belief that man was made in the “image of God”,it can explain how God cannot be addressed by one name, but different people view God in different ways. The same typology is seen in the different characters that people display given the same plan of care or rather going through the same predicament. Can we really define spirituality?


Evans, K. (2020). Intervention, Ethical Decision-Making, and Spiritual Care. Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in Health Care. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/5

Harrad, R., Cosentino, C., Keasley, R., & Sulla, F. Spiritual care in nursing: an overview of the measures used to assess spiritual care provision and related factors amongst nurses. Acta Biomed. 2019 Mar 28;90(4-S):44-55. doi: 10.23750/abm.v90i4-S.8300.


I agree that “spirituality is part of the holistic health triad.” “A person’s worldview shapes his or her inner life and character, such that it is not purely an academic or intellectual question but will involve his or her emotions, thoughts, feelings, desires, and will. In the same way that all people have a worldview, all people will have or express a particular kind of spirituality, even if it is not always recognizably religious” (Evans, 2020). People have different ways of seeing the world and expressing spirituality. It is very subjective. As healthcare workers, we should be able to put our own views aside and allow others to have their own say in how they would like it addressed. Patients know their own physical, spiritual, and emotional needs and healthcare worker should be able to treat a person as whole.


Evans, K. A. (2020). Intervention, Ethical Decision-Making, and Spiritual Care. Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in Health Care. Retrieved from https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/5

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