The study, run by La Trobe University Researcher Amy Heath, will use an online survey alongside focus groups and interviews in all capital cities and some regional areas, to survey the guidelines, which were originally launched in 2016 by Meaningful Ageing Australia in partnership with the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) and Spiritual Health Victoria (SHV).
Meaningful Ageing Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ilsa Hampton says the guidelines are a “world first”, enabling aged care providers to better incorporate spiritual care into aged care services across all levels of an organisation.
“We now want to find out the extent to which the aged care sector has engaged with the Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care across the whole spectrum from not knowing about their existence through to implementing them," she says.
“We are interested in finding out whether there are any particular challenges with the implementation of the guidelines, or conversely if organisations have been able to make improvements with integrated spiritual care as a result of working with them.”
Ms Heath spoke about her role as researcher, and her hopes to include responses from at least 250 aged care organisations in the study which she says will represent approximately 20 percent of the sector.
“We know how busy aged care services are, but… the survey is short and should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete, including reading about the survey,” she explains.
“Anyone from an organisation that provides aged care sector services can complete the survey.”
Ms Hampton says she has high hopes for the research and encouraged anyone able to get involved with it.
“We hope that this research encourages organisations to join in the conversation around quality of life, to understand spirituality in a collaborative and practical way, and to give Meaningful Ageing Australia information about the most needed tools and resources going forward,” she says.
“This information will be particularly helpful given the increased profile for spiritual care in the new Single Aged Care Quality Standards about to be released.”
Initial findings from the research will be released as they occur, with a Meaningful Ageing monthly blog providing regular updates to the sector.
The final publication of the report is due in December 2019.