The Space Between: Implementing spiritual care in community aged care has been based on a program by Catholic Healthcare, which they have been running for the last decade.
The program was very successful, with Catholic Healthcare winning the Meaningful Ageing Australia Quality Award in 2018 for their work in showing the positive impact spiritual care had on clients.
For Meaningful Ageing Australia, this is the third resource released to boost organisations in replicating successful spiritual care related programs.
Chief Executive Officer from Meaningful Ageing Australia, Ilsa Hampton, says, “We are constantly looking for ways to promote excellence, learning from the evidence and each other, rather than have organisations retreat to their corners as competitors.
“Everyone is stretched, and by producing resources such as these we enable both innovation and efficiency for the benefit of older people and those supporting them.”
Sam, a client who accessed these specialised spiritual supports, says, “It helps me to believe in myself and to be in touch with a healthy part of myself, and not be so negative…and to give me hope every day on this journey because it is hard. And it is easy to lose hope. So it brings light into the dark places in your life.”
While many consider spirituality as something religious, that’s not necessarily the case, spirituality is more than just religion.
Spirituality is characterised, by Meaningful Ageing Australia, as seeking and expressing meaning and purpose in our lives, and involves how we experience connection in the moment.
Spiritual care is generally considered an important addition to holistic care for older people, including those with dementia.
The Space Between was a name specifically chosen for the resource because of the way spiritual carers are able to be attentive to the spaces of significance in the lives of aged care clients.
Those changing spaces might include health or other life challenges, they could be spaces from the past which a client may need help to move forward, or potential challenging spaces in the future which requires courage to face those changes.
The guide helps pay attention to each of these spaces and finds ways to help each client on their own terms, and potentially find peace for the individual.
Also in the guide is practical advice with examples, funding models, surveys for clients, referral processes, considerations on naming the service, and evaluation templates.
The handbook also has input from service providers with experience in spiritual care programs, including Baptcare, Churches of Christ in Queensland, and BlueCare.
To find out more about The Space Between, visit the Meaningful Ageing Australia’s website.