The spiritual assessment

Am Fam Physician. 2012 Sep 15;86(6):546-50.


More than 80 percent of Americans perceive religion as important. Issues of belief can affect the health care encounter, and patients may wish to discuss spirituality with their physician. Many physicians report barriers to broaching the subject of spirituality, including lack of time and experience, difficulty identifying patients who want to discuss spirituality, and the belief that addressing spiritual concerns is not a physician's responsibility. Spiritual assessment tools such as the FICA, the HOPE questions, and the Open Invite provide efficient means of eliciting patients' thoughts on this topic. The spiritual assessment allows physicians to support patients by stressing empathetic listening, documenting spiritual preferences for future visits, incorporating the precepts of patients' faith traditions into treatment plans, and encouraging patients to use the resources of their spiritual traditions and communities for overall wellness. Conducting the spiritual assessment also may help strengthen the physician-patient relationship and offer physicians opportunities for personal renewal, resiliency, and growth.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Religion and Medicine
  • Religion*
  • Spirituality*