Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Colin Holidge

Abstract

Spirituality is an important issue in the field of nursing home social work. Research studies have shown that spirituality can improve nursing home residents’ physical and psychological health. The purpose of this study was to explore nursing home social workers’ perspectives on using spirituality. Using a quantitative design, 35 nursing home social workers were surveyed about how much spiritual education and training they received, if they believed that gathering spiritual information should be part the intake process, and the spiritual activities they use with nursing home residents. The data revealed that 12 participants never received formal training in using spirituality in nursing homes. The majority of the respondents felt that taking a spirituality history of nursing home residents should be part of the intake and assessment process at nursing homes. The nursing home social workers surveyed in this study reported that they personally have completed some spiritual activities with their residents such as praying. The spiritual activity of helping residents assess the meaning and purpose of their current life situation was found to be the activity performed the most by the participants. From the findings, it was determined that there were a few spiritual activities some participants thought were unethical to perform with nursing home residents: meditating, using or recommending spirituality books or writings, and recommending prayer to a resident. These research findings reveal that continued effort is needed to ensure that social workers are being trained and educated on the topic of spirituality in order to assist nursing home residents with using this strength to benefit their health and well-being.

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