During the pandemic and now in post-pandemic period, the importance of kindness, compassion and respect is crucial for anybody accessing aged care, and that everybody who is involved in providing that care can also enhance what they offer by understanding how this is spiritual care in action.
Long before the world heard of COVID-19, Meaningful Ageing Australia was working on a micro-learning program to help the vast majority of the aged care workforce, Personal Care Assistants (PCAs), understand what holistic, person-centred (‘spiritual care’) looks like.
In a survey of PCAs undertaken as part of the development process, it was clear they were not all feeling as well supported as hoped. One PCA commented, “My job does not allow us to form a strong bond with the people I care for – it is against company policy and I think it is terrible.” Meaningful Ageing agrees this is terrible and continues to work to influence the industry to focus on genuine relationships.
Co-designed with PCAs, service providers, academics and older people, their latest innovation is Meet Akira, a web-based interactive story. Users are invited to learn about spiritual care by engaging in familiar scenarios. It can be accessed by phone, tablet or computer, and it follows the daily journey of Akira, a Personal Care Assistant. As the learner shares Akira’s story, they learn that:
• Spiritual care is more than religious care
• Their work already includes acts of spiritual care that they may not be aware of
• Spiritual care can enrich their own sense of professional value
Developed over three years, former CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia, Ilsa Hampton, said, “It’s been a huge project for all involved, getting from idea to reality. But when people doing personal care work say that it is so real, and so helpful to them, you know that it has been worth every step.”
A one-minute video overview of the Meet Akira experience can be viewed on YouTube .
The development, piloting and implementation have involved Brightwater, UnitingCare Qld, Hall and Prior, Fresh Hope, Baptistcare WA, Mercy Health, VMCH, Prof John Swinton, Dr Richard Egan, and the award-winning design group Portable, with valuable input from Mahjabeen Ahmand and Dr Christine Bryden. Meet Akira has been co-funded by our platinum sponsor, Prime Super.
Are you ready to learn more about MeetAkira and how it can help your workforce, contact us at email@example.com or call us on 1800 618 107
Average rating noted this year (2023) by job type were:
- PCW/ Support Worker = 83% rated above 9 stars (67% rated 10 stars)
- Non PCW/SW roles = 64% rated above 9 stars (100% of RNs rated 10 stars)
Selected feedback by respondents noted this year (2023) by job type.
- ‘My relationship to my residents improved after I realised that I have to lift up their spirit as a better way to interact’
- ‘We are all different, that is why we need to do things differently for each person we care for and we need to listen more’
Nurse Unit Manager:
- ‘Going through MeetAkira, I have been reminded of how much what I do matters to the people I care for and interact with day to day’
- ‘I feel empowered to do more to help others in their daily lives’
- ‘This was really different, very helpful, thank you’
- ‘It is a good way to reflect myself after having a bad day really, thank you for a beautiful resource!’