Screening for spiritual struggle
A growing body of research documents the harmful effects of religious or spiritual struggle among patients with a wide variety of diagnoses. We developed a brief screening protocol for use in identifying patients who may be experiencing religious/spiritual struggle, as well as patients who would like a visit from a chaplain. We describe the results of a pilot study in which non-chaplain healthcare colleagues administered the screening protocol to patients admitted to an acute medical rehabilitation unit. The protocol identified 7% of the patients as possibly experiencing religious/spiritual struggle. Follow up spiritual assessments by the chaplain confirmed religious/spiritual struggle in all but one of these patients and also identified additional cases of religious/spiritual struggled not identified by the protocol. In addition to areas for future research, the authors describe how using a protocol to screen patients for religious/spiritual can make important contributions to spiritual care.