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1 December 2020:                    Attention community and residential aged care

For immediate release

One of the key things that 2020 has taught us all is that 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 developing an app-like, learning program that would help the 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 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, Ilsa Hampton, CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia, 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 design group Portable, with valuable input from Mahjabeen Ahmand and Dr Christine Bryden. Meet Akira has been co-funded by Prime Super.

Meaningful Ageing Australia is a registered charity.

Media details:
Meaningful Ageing Media contact:
Ilsa Hampton: ihampton@meaningfulage.org.au  042 575 8277