Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Elderly Care Strategies
An Analysis of Spiritual Expression and Spiritual Care among Geriatric Nurses
Anne E. Belcher, PhD, RN, FAAN, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD, USA and Margaret Griffiths, MSN, RN, Nursing, THomas Jefferson University, College of Health Professions, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Learning Objective #1: Participants will be able to describe the scope of spiritual care that is provided by geriatric nurses to elderly populations
Learning Objective #2: Participants will be able to define best practices in spiritual care for elderly populations



Increasing focus on holism in health care has resulted in organized efforts to attend to spiritual care and to examine the concept of spirituality in a systematic manner.  Evidence exists that many nurses misconstrue patients’ manifestations of spiritual needs, possibly because spirituality was not a focus in their nursing curricula and/or lack of awareness of a personal spirituality upon which to draw.  To provide holistic care, nurses in practice need to develop awareness of their own spirituality and spiritual needs, to learn how to assess the spiritual well-being of patients, and to implement transdisciplinary interventions which meet the defined spiritual needs of their patients and themselves.  The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which geriatric nurses express their spirituality in practice environments and are able to integrate spiritual care into their role. Spirituality is differentiated from religion.  Nurses who equate these concepts only address the practices consistent with that religion.  Spirituality has broader meaning in tat it reflects the individual’s search for purpose and meaning in life.  Nurses who are aware of what spirituality encompasses appreciate the need to incorporate spiritual assessment and care into their practice.  The research design for this study utilized a qualitative approach that addressed issues/questions related to expression of spirituality both personally and professionally.  Nurses practicing in geriatric settings completed a questionnaire that elicited spiritual practices and the application of their spirituality to patient care.  Demographic data were collected.  Data were analyzed using a content analysis method to measure the frequency, order and/or intensity of responses.  This presentation will focus on identified themes and their impact on quality of care for elders.  Findings will provide the basis for suggested ‘best practices’ in spiritual care for elderly populations.