© FICA Spiritual History Tool
Using an assessment tool to understand your patient’s spiritual beliefs
establishes a relationship of connectedness and trust.
GWish Spiritual Assessment Tool
Simple yet powerful, the FICA Spiritual History Tool© offers a step-by-step guide to help you gather information about a patient’s spiritual history and preferences. Having a conversation about spirituality early in the relationship demonstrates to patients and their families that you are prepared to walk beside them on their health journey—particularly through acute illness, chronic illness, or end-of-life.
F. Faith, Belief, Meaning: Determine whether or not the patient identifies with a particular belief system or spirituality at all.
I. Importance and Influence: Understand the importance of spirituality in the patient’s life and the influence on health care decisions.
C. Community: Find out if the patient is part of a religious or spiritual community, or if they rely on their community for support.
A. Address/Action in Care: Learn how to address spiritual issues with regards to caring for the patient.
Based on years of research and fieldwork, the FICA Spiritual History Assessment Tool© was developed through a collaboration between Dr. Puchalski and several colleagues. The tool can be used during new-patient visits, annual exams, or at follow-up visits when appropriate.
© Copyright Christina Puchalski, MD, 1996, updated 2024. All rights reserved. No excerpts, translations, or adaptations may be created without written permission.
GWish Spiritual Assessment in Clinical Practice Course
Please enjoy this complimentary short-course designed to help you understand the spiritual beliefs, values, and practices important in your patients' responses to illness or stress.
“We are teaching FICA to all 140 medical students next year by making spiritual care a clinical site. That means all 140 students will shadow a chaplain and practice using the FICA. We are very excited about it!”
— Rev. David Fleenor, Director of Clinical Pastoral Education Education for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City
Spiritual Assessment Tool: FICA Cards
In a convenient 2”x 4” pocket size, our FICA cards offer a condensed version of the FICA Spiritual History Tool©. By using this card as a guide, it will be easier for you to talk to your patients about what gives them meaning, purpose, and hope.