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Positive expectations were exceeded well and truly when staff from all backgrounds at Carinity Hilltop, an inner Brisbane RACF participated in the spirituality and spiritual care orientation course published by Meaningful Ageing.

Interest and enthusiasm were the hallmarks.  Facilitators Linda Sivyer (on-site Chaplain) and Don McPherson (Manager Chaplaincy) approached with caution, realising the possibility of shyness or reserve on this personal topic – but hesitations soon evaporated as staff from across the facility enjoyed interacting and learning extra skills.

Registered and Assisting Nurses, Caterers, Maintenance, Management and Administrators came together in mixed groups of up to 10 for an hour.  The main ideas were introduced, then some skills learned for responding to residents’ spiritual needs without “becoming the Pastoral Care Worker” or running out of time for their ongoing work.  The only difficulty Linda and Don experienced was keeping the happy participation to an hour!

While the question was never asked, staff members voluntarily identified as “no faith”, Buddhist, Spiritual, Christian, Muslim and Sikh. All comfortably related to the leading ideas of “meaning”, “purpose” and “connection”, and the conversations went from there.

“The resources published by Meaningful Ageing were very user friendly, making for simple preparation, and a great engagement from the group” commented Don and Linda. These sessions are a pilot with a view to rolling the program out across all relevant areas of Carinity.      

by Don McPherson