FICA is an acronym that can be used to remember what is asked in a spiritual history. It includes:
F: Faith or Beliefs
I: Importance or influence
Specific questions you can use to discuss these issues are:
F: What is your faith or belief?
- Do you consider yourself spiritual or religious?
- What things do you believe in that give meaning to your life?
I: Is it important in your life?
- What influence does it have on how you take care of yourself?
- How have your beliefs influenced your behavior during this illness?
- What role do your beliefs play in regaining your health?
C: Are you part of a spiritual or religious community?
- Is this of support to you and how?
- Is there a person or group of people you really love or who are really important to
A: How would you like me, your healthcare provider, to address these issues in your healthcare?
General recommendations when taking a spiritual history include:
- Consider spirituality as a potentially important component of every patient’s physical well being and mental health.
- Address spirituality at each complete physical examination and continue addressing it at follow-up visits if appropriate. In patient care, spirituality is an ongoing issue.
- Respect a patient’s privacy regarding spiritual beliefs; don’t impose your beliefs on others.
- Make referrals to chaplains, spiritual directors, or community resources as appropriate.
- Be aware that your own spiritual beliefs will help you personally and will overflow in your encounters with those for whom you care to make the doctor-patient encounter a more humanistic one.
© 1999 Christina Puchalski, M.D. Reprinted with permission from Christina Puchalski, M.D.