Picture-Guided Cards Can Help Chaplains Provide Spiritual Care

FRIDAY, April 29, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Picture-guided spiritual care is feasible among mechanically ventilated adults and may reduce their anxiety, according to a study published online April 20 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Joel N. Berning, from New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, and colleagues assessed whether chaplain-led picture-guided spiritual care helped mechanically ventilated adult ICU patients. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight ICU survivors, while anxiety was assessed in 25 mechanically ventilated adults using visual analog scales (VAS) before and after the first chaplain visit. A combination of interviews and VAS was used in 18 additional survivors.

The researchers found that an illustrated communication card could help assess the spiritual affiliations, emotions, and needs of the patients. All 50 participants identified a spiritual affiliation, 94 percent identified at least one emotion, 90 percent rated their spiritual pain, and 72 percent selected a chaplain intervention. After the first visit, anxiety decreased 31 percent. Among 28 ICU survivors, 93 percent remembered the intervention; of those who remembered, 81 percent felt more capable of dealing with their hospitalization and none felt worse.

"Chaplain-led picture-guided spiritual care is feasible among mechanically ventilated adults, and shows potential for reducing anxiety during and stress after an ICU admission," the authors write.

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