Spiritual and Health Implications for Physical Therapy Practice
Spirituality is an important aspect of the biopsychosocial model of health, and is particularly pertinent when illness or disability challenge one's personal roles and identity. Due to their influence on personal behaviors, self-care, and health-related quality of life, spiritual and religious beliefs can also factor heavily into health prevention and wellness. Additionally, discussion and integration of spirituality can affect patient satisfaction with health services. Spiritual and religious assessment can be approached formally and informally, and may be accomplished using tools and questionnaires compatible with usual assessment methods used in everyday physical therapist practice. As collaborative members of the health care team, it is essential for physical therapists and assistants to work with colleagues to ensure that the patient's spiritual needs are included in the comprehensive plan of care, consistent with the World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health, the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, and the Joint Commission guidelines for health care delivery.
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- Discuss the relationship between spirituality and health, including the relevance of spirituality to physical therapy treatment goals and outcomes.
- Identify methods for defining, assessing, and measuring "spirituality," and distinguish between spirituality and specific religious affiliation.
- Propose ways to integrate spirituality into a comprehensive physical therapy plan of care.
- Review elements of evidence-based practice related to spirituality and health, including challenges to research and need for future study.
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