Don’t just tick the box!

Pastoral care is not just an accreditation box to be ticked. It should be part of a facility’s core business and integrated into business plans, says CHA.

Aged care providers are being urged to integrate pastoral care into their core business and organisational plans, instead of just viewing it as an add-on component required for accreditation.

CEO of Catholic Health Australia (CHA), Martin Laverty, detailed the pastoral care approaches of staff working in the sector at the Centre for Ageing & Pastoral Studies (CAPS) conference last week, commenting how some aged care facilities just tick the pastoral care box and then move on.

The facilities that fare the best, Mr Laverty said, “don’t view pastoral care as just an add-on or just a component of passing accreditation but they integrate it into the business and support it as part of organisational planning.

“Overwhelmingly, the majority of providers, religious or not, already get the central importance of pastoral care in service provision” 

“But there is a greater opportunity to not just tack it on but to [have it] as a core component that is directly linked to health and wellbeing outcomes.

“Pastoral care should be seen as a core part of business, not something that is just tacked on to meet accreditation.”

Mr Laverty’s presentation was based on the CHA report, Pastoral Services in Catholic Health, Community & Aged Care – Contemporary Practice, released in August this year.

He said that the good news is that pastoral care is thriving residential aged care.

“Despite financial constraints and regulatory burdens that the Productivity Commission has said is harming resident care, pastoral care is continuing to meet the needs of many residents of aged care services.

“Where pastoral care is becoming fully integrated into the business of aged care, we are seeing improvement in the lives of older Australians.”

Mr Laverty also spoke about the advantages of pastoral care integration, where pastoral practitioners work as members of the aged care multi-disciplinary team.

Pastoral care services provided in aged care also brings with it the luxury of time- time to develop a relationship, time to address often difficult issues and time to reflect on what has been.

“Residents entering aged care have a series of challenges around their loss of autonomy, uncertainty about their own identity and about what is happening to them as they age.

“A residential aged care environment creates a common environment in which pastoral services can best reach people going through these changes.”

Tags: aged-care, centre-for-ageing-&-pastoral-studies, cha, pastoral-care,

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