Development and Testing of the Spiritual Needs Inventory for Patients Near the End of Life

Carla P. Hermann

ONF 2006, 33(4), 737-744. DOI: 10.1188/06.ONF.737-744

Purpose/Objectives: To develop and test an instrument to measure the spiritual needs of patients near the end of life.

Design: Instrumentation methodology.

Setting: One inpatient and five outpatient hospices.

Sample: 62 female and 38 male hospice patients with a mean age of 67 years; most were Caucasian, Protestant, and dying of cancer.

Methods: Items for the Spiritual Needs Inventory (SNI) were developed from a qualitative study of spiritual needs of dying patients. Data were analyzed for internal consistency using Cronbach's alpha and item-to-total correlations and for content and construct validity using factor analysis.

Main Research Variables: Spiritual needs and life satisfaction.

Findings: The total scale alpha of the 27-item SNI was 0.81. Item-to-total correlations ranged from 0.07-0.65, resulting in seven items being eliminated. A principal component factor analysis with a promax oblique rotation was used to estimate content and construct validity. A total of 17 items comprised the five-factor solution. Cronbach's alpha for the revised SNI was 0.85.

Conclusions: The SNI is a valid and reliable measurement of spiritual needs of patients near the end of life. Further psychometric testing of this newly developed instrument is warranted.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses must recognize the spiritual needs of all patients, particularly those near the end of life. The SNI may be useful in the clinical setting as well as in future studies of spiritual needs of patients.

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