I found the article on the spiritual needs model article and the accompanying assessment tool to be interesting.  It is acknowledged quite early in the article that it is broadly understood that a consensus definition of spirituality is needed.  To me, the task of defining spirituality in a broad sense is daunting because the various beliefs and practices that are found in most communities have their own particular sense of spirituality.  These differences reflect broader views of spirituality, such as Christian vs Jewish vs Muslim, as well as differing views within those broader views such Baptist vs Catholic views.  Besides these various differing views you have to also account for the individual, personal differences or nuances that each person may hold.   The assessment tool holds some potential for helping to move our interventions closer to understanding what the individual wants, needs, believes, or practices.  Of course it starts with the individual and they can help move the conversation into those broader areas and how they influence the individual or what the individual needs from those sources.  If I’m not careful I will start with where the individual comes from  and assume that that background might influencing their situation today so this tool will help to get things better focused on where the individual is today, right now rather than on what from their background may not be so important now.

One thing I question in the assessment tool is the placement of “The need to maintain control” under the “Values” heading.  I just had a conversation yesterday with a gentleman who is about turn 100 and he is really grieving all that he has lost or has had to give up or curtail in his life due to aging limitations and particularly due to a stroke at 98 years.  He feels that life has lost much of its meaning and as we talked it seemed helpful to him to be reminded that he still can make some very important decisions, dietary for example.   He has given up or lost so much that the ability to make the decisions he can make will seemingly be a source of meaning for him.  Yes, his decisions will reflect his values but perhaps values that is what is important to him at 99 years, need to be understood first as a way of helping him to find meaning.  At any rate, I do think that the tool has some potential value and I will be looking at how it might be utilized in my current LTC setting.