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From the CEO – May 2024

by Rachael Wass, CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia

Trauma, grief and loss can stop us in our tracks as Jessica Stern says: ‘Some people’s lives seem to flow in a narrative; mine had many stops and starts. That’s what trauma does. It interrupts the plot. You can’t process it because it doesn’t fit with what came before or what comes afterwards.’ Being able to bear witness to an older person’s story, to listen, refer where necessary and nurturing trust to pave the way towards inner peace, is a sacred duty we undertake.

As it often happens with spiritual care, an exploration of the many nuances and paths to ensuring trauma-informed care often emerges in reflective conversations. This is just one aspect of person-centred care that is found in the taxonomy of the work of spiritual care, and it is substantive but many are unfamiliar of the breadth this work can undertake.

This past month, we held round tables on exploring the funding and work of spiritual care in aged care and it’s clear there is a great benefit to benchmark the current models and extent of the positive social impact. Excellent discussions and a range of pathways will be explored further, including reporting back on the sessions. I’m pleased that we can confirm the Department statisticians producing the 2025 Aged Care Workforce report intend to report S.C. employees separately as one step of many to aid to visibility of this workforce.

My practice this month is called ‘Steadiness of the earth meditation’ by Jack Kornfield – this draws on the metaphor of the grounded nature of a tree which remains still even as the wind blows through it’s branches and encourages the aspiration to listen deeply.

By acknowledging and creating room for past traumas, spiritual care strives to provide a supportive environment for healing and growth.  This is true if a person is at end of life, living with dementia or prospective recipient of aged care in the future. I hope you can join us at one of our learning events series this month or if you’re a spiritual care practitioner, to participate in our next drop-in session. Your presence and insights always enrich our collective journey towards compassionate care.

In friendship & harmony,

Rachael

  • Host a Leaders breakfast in Perth with MAA Board Directors & Spiritual Care Practitioner network
  • Provide expert advisory to LHA as part of The National Silver Rainbow Advisory Committee
  • Meet with Spiritual Care leaders and peak bodies on benchmarking survey for spiritual care
  • Coordinate our proposal for the Revised National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in aged care
  • Participate in May Aged Care Quality Sector Reference Group with Dept of Health and Aged Care
  • Provide key stakeholder consultation for Aged Care Research & Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA)
  • Co-Chair First Nations Working Group and attend National Aged Care Alliance May meeting
  • Co present a free public webinar with Anchor Excellence for Palliative Care Week 2024