Objective: This research explores the potential benefit of a
spiritual pain assessment sheet to clinical practice. With spiritual pain
defined as “pain caused by extinction of the being and meaning of
the self,” the spiritual pain assessment sheet was developed by
Hisayuki Murata from his conceptual framework reflecting the three
dimensions of a human being as a being founded on temporality, a being in
relationship, and a being with autonomy. The assessment sheet was
developed from reviews of the literature and examinations from a
philosophical perspective on the structure of spiritual pain.
Methods: Patients admitted to palliative care units in Japan
were interviewed using the assessment sheet. The responses were analyzed
qualitatively. The usefulness of the assessment sheet and the burden
placed on the patients by its use were also investigated.
Results: The spiritual pain elucidated by the assessment
sheet was the same as that revealed in the earlier research of Morita. The
patients reported that they did not find the use of the assessment sheet a
burden, and more than half reported that it was useful. The burden of the
assessment sheet on the subjects was thus determined to be low. Positive
feedback on the assessment sheet was also received from the nurses who
conducted the patient interviews, who said the assessment sheet made it
easier to talk with the patients about their spiritual pain.
Significance of research: The research results indicate that
the spiritual pain assessment sheet provided an appropriate assessment of
spiritual pain among terminal cancer patients, showing that such a sheet
could be used as an assessment tool in the future.