Development of the PC-7, a quantifiable assessment of spiritual concerns of patients receiving palliative care near the end of life
Fitchett G, Hisey pierson AL, Hoffmeyer C, et al. Development of the PC-7, a Quantifiable Assessment of Spiritual Concerns of Patients Receiving Palliative Care Near the End of Life. J Palliat Med. 2020;23(2):248-253. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2019.0188.
Background: Attending to the religious/spiritual (R/S) concerns of patients is a core component of palliative care. A primary responsibility of the chaplain is to conduct a thorough assessment of palliative care patients' R/S needs and resources. Problems with current approaches to spiritual assessment in all clinical contexts, including palliative care, include limited evidence for their validity, reliability, or clinical usefulness; narrative content; and lack of clinical specificity.
Objectives: The aim of our work was to develop an evidence-based, quantifiable model for the assessment of unmet spiritual concerns of palliative care patients near the end of life.
Design: The PC-7 model was developed by a team of chaplains working in palliative care. Phase 1 used literature in the field and the chaplains' clinical practice to identify key concerns in the spiritual care of palliative care patients. Phase 2 focused on developing indicators of those concerns and reliability in the chaplains' rating of them.
Results: Key concerns in the model include the following. Need for meaning in the face of suffering; need for integrity, a legacy; concerns about relationships; concern or fear about dying or death; issues related to treatment decision making; R/S struggle; and other concerns. An approach to scoring the patients' degree of unmet spiritual concerns was adapted from the literature. Assessing cases from the chaplains' practice led to high levels of agreement (reliability).
Conclusion: Using the PC-7 model, chaplains can describe and quantify the key spiritual concerns of palliative care patients. Further research is needed to test its validity, reliability, and clinical usefulness.