The new National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care will be launched on Tuesday, following extensive development that involved input from the sector.

The Australian-first guidelines, which apply to both community and residential aged care, were developed from a literature review and wide-ranging consultation with industry stakeholders.

The guidelines project was a collaboration between Meaningful Ageing Australia (formerly PASCOP), Spiritual Health Victoria (SHV) and the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI), and funded by the Federal Government.

Senior managers in aged care have already been given a first look at the new guidelines as part of a series of workshops that were held in June.

Those spearheading the initiative have previously told Australian Ageing Agenda that spiritual care was something that all staff working in aged care had a role in, contrary to a common misconception that it was the domain of chaplains.

The resource aimed to assist organisations and staff in establishing what standards they should strive for or how they might achieve them.

The new guidelines will be launched at SummitCare’s St Mary’s facility in NSW next Tuesday.

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  1. So that include workers who have no spiritual beliefs and do not support spiritual beliefs or do they get bullied into this?

  2. Ted, when you say ‘spiritual beliefs’ you are probably referring to ‘religious beliefs’, which, of course, means faith or belief in a particular religion. As you are indicating, it is not acceptable to force religious beliefs on anyone. Spiritual care refers to a person’s spirituality, which may or may not be connected to a religion. Everyone possesses some sense of spirituality, whether that is acknowledged or not, which could be related to meaning in life, significant connections, music, art, nature, relationships, etc. These issues generally become more significant as we get older, therefore spiritual care is a crucial issue in the aged care sector.

  3. Spiritual care has always been offered by chaplains of various religious persuasions and is never something forced upon residents or staff…it is just well-being care. Because chaplains are people chosen for their pastoral sensitivity and spirituality, they are well placed for this role. As the article says, every person can care for another’s spirituality – that which gives their life meaning and purpose. For the vast majority of the world’s people the rhythm from religious practices enhances this.

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