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Tool connects staff to client’s spiritual needs

The new tool is being used at Lutheran Aged Care Albury

A new resource launched this week helps aged care workers to more meaningfully engage with older people.

ConnectTo is a screening tool developed by Meaningful Ageing Australia and designed to support spiritual care for older people in a range of settings including residential, home and palliative care.

The resource, which can be integrated into existing communication processes, has been trialled at four different aged care facilities.

Ilsa Hampton

Meaningful Ageing Australia CEO Ilsa Hampton said it was developed to help aged care organisations talk easily with older people about what was most important to them in areas that connected with spirituality.

“By having that conversation, they have information that can be included in care planning and improve on the person’s experience of care and their quality of life,” Ms Hampton told Australian Ageing Agenda.

She said ConnecTo could be used at pre-admission, during the initial assessment, or as a review when an older person was experiencing significant change or transition.

The tool allows for discussion on a range of areas and gives staff a way to more succintly understand the older person’s deeper needs, she said.

Building better relationships earlier

Lutheran Care Albury is planning to roll out out ConnecTo to its three facilities after completing a two-week intensive trial involving a multidisciplinary team at its largest facility, Della Court.

Pastoral care nurse Angela Uhrhane, who trained staff to use the tool, said staff including those from the admissions, lifestyle and pastoral care teams were finding it useful in different scenarios.

“The best benefit is that the tool is connecting residents earlier to things that are important to them and it’s getting support earlier for residents who need it,” Ms Uhrhane told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Ms Uhrhane said they are using it as a referral tool so when something is picked up during a ConnecTo conversation it is easily communicated to other relevant teams.

Among the benefits of ConnecTo is that it captured everything on one sheet of paper, its diagram form allowed residents to be more involved in the process and it pictured more than religion.

On the challenges, Ms Uhrhane said some staff reported it was time consuming, however it is seen as worthwhile for the residents and therefore a benefit in the long term.

Since completing the trial, Ms Uhrhane said they were now looking at training others including registered nurses and allied health staff to use ConnecTo so any inadvertent but relevant things that residents shared could be documented and referred on.

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3 Responses to Tool connects staff to client’s spiritual needs

  1. Louise Finnane April 28, 2017 at 9:27 am #

    What a wonderful project for any health facility. I would be interested in knowing more about it and seeing the one page guide!

  2. Gary Kenney April 28, 2017 at 11:50 am #

    I have been a teacher in spiritual matters for many years, and firmly believe that every human being on Earth is a spiritual being. The “Connect To” profile recognises this and works to bring the spiritual dimension of human nature into the care program for each person. It separates spirituality from religion in a way that is immensely helpful, due to a perceived confusion between the two held by many people. In the third and fourth stages of life, the spiritual dimension usually starts to jump in a new way, and this “Connect To” profile helps staff to recognise this and enable them to do something about it.

  3. Gail Piper April 28, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    This sounds great and also beneficial in connecting staff with each-other. Its visible diagram form seems very complimentary to holistic care. It would be great to find out more.

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