Growth House Logo
Growth House > Spiritual Care at the End of Life

Spiritual Care at the End of Life

Growth House provides several spiritual care training modules and assessment tools for palliative and end of life care. The URL for downloads is All of these downloads are free, and you may reuse them as you wish so long as appropriate attribution is given.

Hillel Bodek, MSW, LCSW-R, BCD - Spiritual Training Module

Hillel Bodek, MSW, LCSW-R, BCD, has developed a spiritual training module for healthcare workers and chaplains that is specific to palliative and end of life care. You may download the educational training module, the pre-tests and post-tests, as well as the spirituality questionnaires/exercises for clergy and for health care professionals. You should feel free to use these materials yourselves and to send these materials to your colleagues as long as you and your colleagues provide appropriate attribution. all files may be downloaded individually or as part of one zip file.

You can listen to an interview (AVI format) with Hillel Bodek that explains the spiritual training curriculum.

Here's what the complete curriculum contains:

Hillel Bodek provides training in use of this curriculum. If you are interested in having training for your staff in doing spiritual assessments and dealing with spiritual issues/concerns/crises, you may contact Hillel at [email protected].

Stanford Curriculum

Module 7 of the Stanford End-of-Life Care Curriculum covers psychiatric issues and spirituality. The curriculum was developed to train physicians. The Stanford program is no longer active, but Growth House maintains the archives. You can download powerpoint presentations or view the modules in HTML format by following the link to that section of Growth House. The curriculum is documented in the book Palliative Care Perspectives by James Hallenbeck, MD. Growth House provides the full text of the book online. You can read Hallenbeck's chapters that include the spiritual care component, with a discussion of the FICA scale.

FICA Spiritual Assessment Acronym

Christina Pulchalski, MD, has developed an acronym, FICA, which can be used in performing a spiritual assessment. A summary of the FICA acronym is available in the online edition of James Hallenbeck's Palliative Care Perspectives. The FICA methodology was documented by the Psychosocial Care team of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Workgroup of Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, Hiroshi Mitsumoto, MD, Chair. The Promoting Excellence project is no longer active, but Growth House maintains the archives. The FICA tool, a review of spiritual care issues, and related resources, are available as part of Appendix B, Psychosocial Care, in the full Workgroup reports. You may download that appendix. The FICA approach was also documented by the Workgroup on Palliative and End-of-Life Care in HIV/AIDS.

Historical Background

With increasing interest in palliative care during the 1990's the importance of spiritual issues and concerns in end-of-life care led to increased attention to spiritual issues and the role of clergy in palliative care. A consensus conference sponsored by the Archstone Foundation was held February 17-18, 2009. The result of the conference was a report titled, "Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care: The Report of the Consensus Conference", which was published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine as a special report in the October, 2009 issue and made it clear that spiritual care is a fundamental component of quality palliative care. This Conference Report came after the October 2007 Institute of Medicine report about the need for psychosocial services to cancer patients and their families, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs, which led to increased attention to the psychosocial needs of patients who have life limiting illnesses and their families, using the context of cancer.