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New funding to roll out spiritual care campaign

(Back row from left:) Ken Wyatt, Ilsa Hampton and Steve Irons with (front row:) Brightwater Redcliffe residents in Perth who participate in the See me. Know me. program.

The national spiritual care and ageing peak body has received $544,000 to help aged care staff meet their obligations for spiritual care under the new standards and empower consumers about their rights.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced the funding on Friday and said Meaningful Ageing Australia would use it roll out two national programs, which include the development of video resources and the campaign called See me. Know me.

The campaign aims to help aged care organisations understand and respond to the pastoral and spiritual needs of older people and empower consumers to access aged care services that meet all their needs.

Aged care clients might seek spiritual connections through religion, nature, family and social groups, music or art, for example.

Ilsa Hampton

Meaningful Ageing Australia CEO Ilsa Hampton welcomed the funding and said it would help them build on work initiated in February and expand the campaign.

“We will be able to reach hundreds of thousands of senior Australians with the message that they are valued and how they can expect aged care to look after them as a whole person,” Ms Hampton told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“Whole of person care is both a right of people accessing aged care services and a responsibility of services providers and the new aged care quality standards make this clear,” she said.

Meaningful Ageing Australia, which launched federally-funded provider resource National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care in 2016, will use the funding to:

  • produce and promote a series of five short films on the dimensions of spiritual care, the guidelines, and their relevance to the new quality standards
  • conduct a campaign to raise awareness of spiritual care for people receiving and looking for aged care, including the distribution of posters and postcards in Italian, Greek and Simplified Chinese.

The campaign will also be promoted through seniors’ expos, newspaper and online advertising and social media.

Mr Wyatt said the evidence showed that spiritual care was fundamental to wellbeing for everyone and especially seniors and people with dementia.

“Meeting not only the physical but the spiritual needs of people receiving aged care services will help reduce depression, anxiety and unhappiness,” he said.

The CEO of aged care provider Brightwater Care Group, Jennifer Lawrence welcomed the funding and said the See me. Know me. campaign was proving a powerful tool to connect with clients and ensure spiritual needs were incorporated into care planning.

“The Meaningful Ageing Australia resources play an important part of our clients’ experience from when they begin their journey with us and throughout their time as a client,” Ms Lawrence said.

This measure is fully-funded for the current financial year.

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