Using a spiritual care board could be useful in many situations where patient communication is difficult, such as palliative care.

Gene LoCastro became ill with pulmonary fibrosis in 2013. Before long, he had developed blood clots on his lungs and needed a double lung transplant.

Recognising it was not just his physical needs that needed tending to while he was in hospital, he was able to make use of the Chaplain, Joel Berning.

According to their interview with CNN, Berning finds spiritual care to be invaluable in hospital situations but he was having difficulty communicating effectively with many patients due to medical interventions.

He noticed that doctors and nurses often used communication boards so patients could express physical needs and wondered why no one had thought of developing a board for spiritual needs. Together with a colleague he set out to make their very first spiritual care board.

"Chaplains, we often talk about four basic 'flavours' of feelings: mad, sad, glad and afraid," Berning said. "We laid it out on those columns and tried to make it very… inclusive, colourful and easy to interact with.

"Instead of 'I'm nauseaous and I'm in pain,' it's 'I'm lonely', 'I'm scared.' I'm frustrated,' 'I'm worried,'" he said. "Instead of 'turn me,' 'suction me,' 'toilet me'; it's 'hold my hand,' 'play music,' 'pray,' 'get a priest,' – stuff like that."

A study was conducted at the hospital to find out how effective the board was at addressing the spiritual needs of their ICU patients. It was found to reduce anxiety by 31%. Patients said they felt more at peace with who they were and what they were going through, were more psychologically prepared and better able to contextualise their illness.

Read the full article at CNN here.

Photo credit: CNN.