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Spiritual care guidelines for aged care in the works


In an Australian-first initiative, a new project will develop national guidelines for spiritual care in residential and community aged care and provide a range of tools to support their implementation.

The collaboration between Pastoral and Spiritual Care of Older People (PASCOP), Spiritual Health Victoria (SHV) and the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) received $400,000 in the latest round of Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants.

The guidelines will be based on a literature review, wide-ranging consultation and engagement with stakeholders, and will be piloted prior to finalisation.

Dave Petty, chief executive office of PASCOP, said contrary to a common misconception that spiritual care amounted to providing access to a chaplain, it was in fact something that all staff working in aged care had a role in.

Yet there is currently no national guide “that can assist organisations and staff in establishing what standards they should strive for or how they might achieve them,” Mr Petty told Australian Ageing Agenda.

The awareness and preparedness around spiritual care among aged care providers currently varied – some providers already took it seriously and did a good job, others would love to provide spiritual care but did not know where to start, while some still did not see a need for it, Mr Petty said.

The national standards would cover a range of settings and different categories of people. The project would also see the development of a range of tools to support people at a practical level to apply the guidelines.

The project was initiated by SHV, which was working in the aged care space and realised there were no best practice guidelines that applied to aged care or older people, said Mr Petty. “SHV began undertaking the initial research to inform the project. Shortly after PASCOP was formed as a national organisation it was invited to join with SHV in a partnership.”

NARI will be responsible for project management.

Mr Petty said the project aimed to have the guidelines and materials ready by June next year.

For more information visit the PASCOP website where a separate webpage detailing the project will be added soon.



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4 Responses to Spiritual care guidelines for aged care in the works

  1. KEVIN ROBINSON December 23, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    All Nursing Homes and Aged Care establishments should provide for their residents Spiritual Guidance based on biblical principles so that residents can avail themselves of comfort in the twilight years of their lives IF THEY WISH TO. To deprive elderly residents of the opportunity to receive Christian Spiritual Counselling by failing to provide at law this facility in our Nursing Homes etc, is tantamount to gross negligence on the part of out countries law makers. Australia has been developed over the years on Judeo-Christian principles and to achieve into the future the same successful growth of the World’s best care for ageing people we should ensure that our standards remain firmly in place.

  2. d May 31, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    I grew up in a nursing home from age 2 until 17.
    It was 1952 and my mother was Matron.
    The patients always had a priest or pastor to visit every week.
    It was important for their beliefs.
    Today one needs to have it documented if spiritual visits are invited and then encouraged.
    As well I may add some who were antagonist may well change opion in old age so best to ask and then listen to their replies.
    I have become more spiritual as I age.

  3. Tony Schumacher Jones June 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    I don’t know if anyone is still looking at this – I bumped into this page by accident.

    The mistake both respondents make, and it is a common enough one, is to link spirituality with religion. The two are not inevitably related. I can be spiritual without being religious. In fact all people are, I would suggest, spiritual beings, if by being spiritual we acknowledge that people have meanings and belief systems that drive the way they look at life.

    I think we need to free spirituality from religion.

  4. Michael SK January 6, 2019 at 3:29 am #

    TRUE. HOWEVER PRIOR TO THE INTRODUCTION OF MOTORISED COACHES THERE WERE HORSE&CART BUGGIES.IF YOU HAD A CART AND NO HORSE OR A HORSE AND NO CART DID YOU THEN HAVE A BUGGY SUITABLE FOR TRANSPORTATION? PARTS BY THEMSELVES DON’T MAKE UP A WHOLE. Michael SK (Ph.D) MetaPhysics.

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