We launched our new resource, The Space Between: Implementing spiritual care in community aged care, at our National Members Forum in Sydney, on 20 September 2019. This guidebook assists community aged care providers to introduce a spiritual care program into their services.

The Space Between is based on the program that Catholic Healthcare has been running for the last ten years. In 2018, Catholic Healthcare was the winner of the Meaningful Ageing Australia Quality Award for this work. Their application included evidence of ongoing evaluations that showed the significance of the spiritual care offering to clients. The publication has been made possible by support from Prime Super.

In the words of Sam, one client who has accessed this specialised spiritual support, “It helps me to believe in myself and to be in touch with a healthy part of myself, and not be so negative…and to give me hope every day on this journey because it is hard. And it is easy to lose hope. So it brings light in to the dark places in your life.”

This is the third resource from Meaningful Ageing Australia based on award-winning programs. “We are constantly looking for ways to promote excellence, learning from the evidence and each other, rather than have organisations retreat to their corners as competitors”, said Meaningful Ageing Australia CEO Ilsa Hampton. “Everyone is stretched, and by producing resources such as these we enable both innovation and efficiency for the benefit of older people and those supporting them.”

The resource is named ‘The Space Between’ because of the very many ways in which spiritual carers are attentive to the spaces of significance in the lives of community aged care clients. These may be changing spaces, due to health or other challenges; they could be spaces from the past that need to be called forward; they may be spaces of the future and finding the courage to face unwanted changes. By paying particular attention to each of these spaces, by exploring the spiritual resources of each client on their own terms, consolation, reconciliation and even peace may be found.

The handbook includes practical advice and examples including funding models, surveys for potential clients, referral processes, considerations of how to name the service offering, and templates for evaluation. It includes input from other service providers with experience in this critical area of work such as Baptcare, Churches of Christ in Queensland and BlueCare.

Copies can be ordered here.