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Spirituality program recognised nationally


L to R: Nick Ryan, Ilsa Hampton and the Catholic Healthcare team

Residential aged and community care provider Catholic Healthcare has been recognised for its spiritual care program at Meaningful Ageing Australia’s national awards in Melbourne.

Catholic Healthcare was awarded the 2018 Quality in Pastoral and Spiritual Practice Award for its community services spiritual care program, which involves a pastoral care coordinator supporting residents to find meaning in their lives and through their individual journeys.

The award celebrates organisations that recognises programs or projects that meet the spiritual needs of older people.

Catholic Healthcare’s Community Pastoral Care Program assists older people building their sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-value. Clients are offered opportunities to express their needs and wishes towards a goal of ageing well.

Other staff including case managers, nurses and external medical professionals are also involved to assist in the holistic care of seniors.

Catholic Healthcare director of mission and chief counsel Julia Abrahams accepted the award on behalf of the organisation.

Ms Abrahams said the program offers emotional support resources for clients who live at home.

“The Pastoral Care team works to connect with, engage and enhance the spirituality of the client, their family and carers,” Ms Abrahams said.

She said its mission is to “promote life in all its fullness.”

The program also includes a connection to the local parish and pastoral care volunteers, referral for social support, supply of spiritual resources and learning tools, engagement in day-centre community activities, grief support when losing a relative or pet and spiritual and emotional support during health crises.

“Clients are often referred to the program because of a crisis that occurs within their lives,” Ms Abrahams said.

Catholic Healthcare was awarded $1000 towards the organisation’s pastoral and spiritual care. A Meaningful Ageing publication will follow their program to share with other providers.

Meaningful Ageing Australia CEO Ilsa Hampton said Catholic Healthcare’s program sustainably demonstrates its support for the spiritual care of older people.

“This winning spiritual care program shows that personalised, thoughtful and compassionate presence can be successfully offered to enable meaningful ageing in the lives of clients in the community,” Ms Hampton said.

She said the awards are timely in recognising the importance of care in Australia.

“These awards come at a critical time when the Australian community is wondering how well we are caring for their loved ones,” Ms Hampton said.

The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency CEO Nick Ryan attended the ceremony to recognise Catholic Healthcare’s achievement at Melbourne Town hall.

Spirituality programs from Victorian-based residential care provider Villa Maria Catholic Homes and New South Wales-based provider Catholic Care of the Aged in Port Macquarie were also highly commended by Meaningful Ageing Australia.

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