The following should be read in the context of the full National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care, downloadable here.
Relationships and connectedness
Older people experience care in a relational context where they feel connected and welcome, and where their individual worth is respected and preserved. Those who have contact with older people are equipped and supported to spiritually engage and connect so as to establish and maintain mutual, respectful and genuine relationships.
Outcomes and actions
2.1 Leaders and managers support those who have contact with older people in developing the spiritual and emotional resources they need.
2.2 Recruitment and selection processes place a high priority on attracting and selecting those who demonstrate empathy, genuine care and the capacity to connect appropriately with older people.
2.3 To enable mutual relationships of trust and openness to develop, staff are consistently assigned as caregivers to the same older person.
2.4 All those who have contact with older people have responsibility and accountability for spiritual well-being of those in their care.
2.5 Performance appraisal and quality improvement processes include seeking the views of older people regarding their satisfaction with spiritual care and services in a way that maintains confidentiality.
2.6 A culture of connectedness, compassion, ‘being with’ and ‘being present to’ older people is reflected in recruitment and selection, training, rosters, position descriptions, work values and performance appraisal systems.
2.7 Those who have direct contact with older people are trained and equipped with spiritual awareness to: • Understand their own spirituality and a diverse range of spiritual experiences and expressions • Be able to enter into a conversation/have connection with older people about what gives their life meaning • Know when, how and whom to refer to when spiritual needs arise • Incorporate spirituality into their role/function • Provide compassionate partnering.
2.8 Spiritual care needs are sensitively shared to ensure that all those who have direct contact with older people have access to information appropriate to their role and relationship.
2.9 Relationships and connectedness with God/divine power, life force, or places, events, animals, objects that bring meaning, are fostered and facilitated.
2.10 In residential care, relationships and connections with family, carers and loved ones is supported and encouraged with visitor-friendly spaces, telephone and use of technology/social media.
Identifying and meeting spiritual choices, preferences and needs
Spiritual care is based on choices, preferences and individually assessed needs. These needs are identified, documented, evaluated and shared by the care team in a way that recognises their dynamic and changing nature.
Outcomes and actions
3.1 Upon commencement of care services, spiritual choices, preferences and needs are identified to establish immediate and ongoing care, with the consent of the older person.
3.2 The spiritual choices, preferences and needs of older people are assessed using valid and reliable tools within one month of commencement and at least six monthly thereafter, with the consent of the older person.
3.3 Spiritual choices, preferences and needs are documented, addressed and integrated with clinical and lifestyle plans to facilitate holistic care.
3.4 The approach to providing spiritual care is multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and includes the older person and/or their circle of support.
3.5 After critical life events such as trauma, crisis, illness, losses or significant changes, older people are offered opportunities to reflect on their life’s meaning or purpose.
3.6 There is a referral system in place to enable access to specialised spiritual carers at short notice and on an on-going basis.
3.7 Older people are supported to find meaning, purpose and connectedness as they transition through the different stages associated with ageing.
3.8 Finding meaning and purpose through relationship and connection is central to all activities and lifestyle programs based on individual choices, preferences and needs.
3.9 Older people are supported to prepare for end of life: • By reflecting on their life, contribution and legacy • By affirming worth, identity and uniqueness • By exploring unresolved issues such as ‘unfinished business’, fear, guilt, need to reconcile, meaning and purpose, and life review • End of life spiritual care needs and preferences are documented, supported and respected • Palliative care preferences • Advance care planning is offered • Death and dying rituals and preferences are documented and respected.
3.10 The environment, routines and practices are conducive to acknowledging and supporting the emergence of spiritual ‘moments’, reflections and insights.