Innovative, person-centred aged care organisations have been recognised, with 6 finalists announced in the 2016 Meaningful Ageing Australia Awards. The Awards celebrate organisations who can demonstrate a sustained and effective program or project that is focused on high quality pastoral and spiritual care of older people.
Meaningful Ageing Australia CEO, Ilsa Hampton, said these finalists were chosen through a strict process of de-identification and judging by an independent panel coming from three states. “The judges carefully assessed each application to ensure they can demonstrate the effectiveness and sustainability of their pastoral or spiritual care offering. The quality of applications was again out-standing”. “Having just launched the National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care, the time is perfect for these awards. These finalists provide a shining light to others in the sector who are tempted to say effective pastoral and spiritual care is too expensive or difficult to implement.”
Finalists include: Bethanie (WA) addressed the stress of transition into residential aged care directly with a trial and then full implementation of aged care chaplains meeting with all new residents prior to, and after, moving in. Residents have reported that this has assisted their adjustment to the facility.
Carrington (NSW) set up a reminiscence program in 2011 where senior students are coached in getting alongside residents to really listen to their life stories over a 3 month period. Families, students and residents all benefit from the process and the final product – a memento of the older person’s life.
Villa Maria (Catholic Healthcare, NSW) embarked on a process to offer more sensitive, inclusive and therefore spiritually supportive services for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Begun by their pastoral carer in 2014, they first focused on people from Macedonian backgrounds with an exploration of their deeper needs. This has led to gardening, bread-making, home duties, family days, icons for residents who wanted them, visits from the priest, more staff who speak Macedonian, translation services, and culturally specific food all now part of daily life at Villa Maria.
IRT Kangara Waters (NSW) initiated a volunteer pastoral care transport service that began in 2015 when an RN asked for some assistance for a resident with no family or friends. Pastoral carers now routinely offer a positive, caring and calming presence to many residents who need to access medical appointments. Prior to this service, residents would be taken by a ‘Non Urgent Ambulance Transport Vehicle’ and left alone, often for hours, in a hospital waiting area. If residents receive bad news whilst at the appointment, they are supported, and the pastoral carer continues to support them whilst residents participate in treatment plans. The pastoral carer can also be ‘another set of ears’ at the appointment if needed.
Peninsula Villages (NSW) changed the way they acknowledge resident deaths, which used to be clothed in secrecy. A Celebration of Life Service is held every month, and accompanying memory cards are written. Staff are now more alert to the impact of resident’s deaths on others in the facility; and the services provide an avenue for grieving other losses, such as the move into care.
Salvation Army Aged Care Plus (NSW/ACT) implemented a change in care model from medical to caring for ones spirit. A spiritual assessment and care planning approach for people living with a mental illness, complex care needs and substance abuse was developed, leading to deeper connectivity and relationships between residents and staff. Since initiating this change, resident satisfaction has increased by 10% across all domains of resident satisfaction, reinforcing the impact and importance of an approach focused on personal life meaning.
Winners will be announced at the Awards Event to be held in Newcastle on 21st October 2016.