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Meeting older people's spiritual needs

Developed in a partnership between Meaningful Ageing Australia (formerly known as PASCOP), Spiritual Health Victoria (SHV) and National Ageing Research Institute, the National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care have been released.

 Ilsa Hampton CEO Meaningful Australia, Cynthia Payne CEO SummitCare and Nick Ryan CEO Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, at the launch
Ilsa Hampton CEO Meaningful Australia, Cynthia Payne CEO SummitCare and Nick Ryan CEO Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, at the launch

Spirituality is integral to quality of life and well-being. However until now older people’s spiritual needs may not have been known or met because care- givers did not know how to ask them about their spiritual needs and then take action help meet these needs.

 The Guidelines provide specific and practical understanding and assistance to all care givers working in residential aged care and also those providing care and support in the community and at home. They are available in electronic or hard copy format which can be downloaded or ordered from the Meaningful Ageing website

“Every older person in residential and community aged care can now be offered spiritual care that is desired by and meaningful to them thanks to internationally ground-breaking guidelines developed in Australia for all Australians whatever their background, culture, beliefs or faith,” says Ilsa Hampton, CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia.

 Elizabeth Pringle, who managed the Australian Government Department of Health funded project with the National Ageing Research Institute says: “The Guidelines recognise the humanistic essence of spirituality while being rigorous enough to describe, measure and evaluate how aged care organisations offer spiritual care.”

They are flexible and relevant to large and small services in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote, whatever type of care is provided. The Guidelines are free to services and carers along with additional implementation resources and assistance including two videos on the Meaningful Ageing website.

Nick Ryan, CEO of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency launched the National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care recently at SummitCare’s St Marys Facility in Sydney. “The sector welcomes the National Guidelines as a significant benchmark for the integration of spiritual care, giving organisations a clear pathway to embrace whole-of-person care,” he says.

CEO of SummitCare Cynthia Payne, says: “These guidelines are a first in the world - to have consulted and been involved in the pilot means that we can introduce a new dimension to aged care.”

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