It can be said that all people search for meaning, but the later years of life are particularly considered to be a period when one takes stock of one’s whole life to find meaning and maintain a sense of identity and peace in the face of transitions, issues of health and one’s imminent death.
This meaning-making process is essentially called spirituality. Without defining it as such, staff members or volunteer of your aged-care organisation, may have already supported an older person in your care in their search for meaning. They may have been avoiding dealing with this dimension of an older person’s life because they feel that it is too personal an issue. Or they may be constrained by time or pressured to rush to the next person.
The Spiritual Care Orientation Program – developed by Meaningful Ageing Australia for our members – is a forty-five-minute introduction course intended to be part of the regular workplace orientation of your organisation for new staff. It aims to support the professional competence of staff in recognising and responding to the spiritual needs of older people in their care, within the context of their ongoing roles. It discusses, amongst other things, what spirituality is and why it is relevant to their role and spirituality in the workplace, and includes two case studies.
This introduction course was piloted on site with aged care providers. The results of the pilot were incorporated into this final package of learning materials and since its release we continue to receive very positive feedback about the impact of the program.
Responses from those who have used the resource:
“I found this module very helpful. It has given me a different perspective on situations and options for responding to residents.”
Participant, Aged Care Plus NSW
“My experience in presenting this material was very positive. It generated very good discussion in the group and all expressed a desire to see this done regularly at our facility so that all staff got the benefit”
Facilitator, BaptistCare NSW
The resource is intended for:
- All members of your nursing and personal care staff
- All members of your support staff who have direct or indirect contact with residents/clients and their significant others, such as personnel in social services, allied health, admissions, dietary, housekeeping and maintenance.
On completion of this introduction, participants will:
- Have a deepened understanding of spirituality and its different expressions
- Be able to recognise the spiritual needs of older people in their care
- Be able to confidently support older people in their care in the spiritual dimension of ageing while undertaking their normal duties
- Be able to refer older people to a pastoral care practitioner, chaplain or other appropriate staff members when necessary
This introduction course is available for Meaningful Ageing Australia member organisations at no extra cost. It is the recommendation that each organisation has one copy for each of its facilities.