David, as I read what you are thinking about and working on related to Spiritual Assessment I can relate to some of that struggle. I know that I am not the most well versed chaplain when it comes to Spiritual Assessments. Several years ago I worked on a project for our department – I am one of two chaplains serving almost 400 residents plus staff – the project was to develop a spiritual history and assessment model that we might use for our work as chaplains. It was a work in process but got shot down by my co-chaplain, who is my supervisor, who felt that it would be too much work to try to go back and get spiritual information on every resident. She was right to the extent that there is no place in our medical records for spiritual history, VERY LITTLE spiritual or religious info is gathered during admission nor on an ongoing basis. If the chaplains want the info we have to get. The initial part of what I was working on might be better seen as a screening. I like your idea of using volunteer chaplains to help gather that initial kind of info and hope it develops for you in your setting.
I really struggle in our environment because it seems that our nurses, and to some extent our social workers, see the chaplains as who to call when some dies or when someone goes tot he hospital. I wonder from our group in this session, how to you get nursing and SW to be more understanding of and engaged in the awareness of spiritual needs of the residents and their families. Our nurses are really struggling with issues of low moral. They work hard 12 hour shifts and we have a lot of turn over in that department so they don’t always see as clearly as they might the spiritual or emotional issues at play with some residents so it is a challenge. What works for you all to help staff be more aware of spiritual needs and issues?