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Spirituality and ageing for health and aged-care workers: what we teach them and they teach us


Spirituality and ageing for health and aged-care workers: what we teach them and they teach us Chris Perkins: 1st Oct 2010 Selwyn Centre for Ageing and Spirituality – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Spirituality and ageing for health and aged-care workers: what we teach them and they teach us

Spirituality and ageing for health and aged-care
workers what we teach them and they teach us
  • Chris Perkins 1st Oct 2010
  • Selwyn Centre for Ageing and Spirituality
  • Auckland, New Zealand

  • While we teach, we learn. 
  • Seneca
  • (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)

  • Spirituality in aged-care - across the ditch
  • Our workshops
  • Where to from here?

Policies require
  • a holistic approach to care and support-including
    consideration of physical and mental health,
    social, emotional and spiritual needs of older
    people. (Health of Older People Strategy 2000)
  • Wellbeing a dimension of health beyond the
    absence of disease or infirmity including social,
    emotional and spiritual aspects of health
  • (Health of Older People Stategy 2000)
  • Positive ageing includes physical, intellectual,
    emotional and spiritual wellbeing (Positive
    Ageing Strategy)
  • Whare tapa wha model of Maori health
  • taha wairua the most essential
    requirement for health. (Durie 1998 p.70)

But we dont know how to
  • Nurses
  • identify spiritual care as the exclusive realm of
    chaplains or religious agents'
  • steer clear of spiritual material for fear they
    are unqualified, ill-equipped, or
  • It is not part of their job description.
  • (Narayanasamy 1993)
  • Only (11of 176 nurses) felt able to provide
    spiritual care for their patients
  • (Nolan Crawford 1997)

And we dont.
  • Audit of MHSOP charts
  • 13 / 30 mentioned religion (not spirituality)-
    mostly superficial recording, despite many
    patients having serious often life-threatening
    conditions (or religious delusions).

Focus groups
  • Staff dont record because
  • too busy,
  • not seen as important part of assessment (by
    doctors) medical / scientific model,
  • team meetings focus on safety and progress (but
    not process of recovery)
  • NZ is a secular society other countries e.g.
    South Africa, Philippines record religion on

Our workshops
  • Our premise-spiritual care depends on us being
    in a
  • right relationship with ourselves before we can
    be in an authentic relationship with others,
  • (p. 287 Lawrence Head 2009)
  • Goals
  • Methods
  • Participants

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Some results
  • What people like about working with older people
  • What is spirituality?
  • Nurturing ones own spirituality

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What we like about working with older people
  • Hearing their stories
  • Being able to help / being appreciated
  • Ability to make connection
  • Peace and calm
  • 4. Character
  • 6. Wisdom and meaning-making
  • 7.Holistic / biopsychosocial-spiritual

What we understand by spirituality
  1. Connectedness-relationship
  2. Felt state
  3. Self-awareness
  4. Meaning / purpose
  5. State of harmony
  6. Something beyond us
  7. Evolving with time and crises
  8. Miscellaneous

Ways to access spirituality for ourselves
  1. Relationship
  2. Arts
  3. Nature
  4. Religion
  5. Place

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  • What a privilege to have been able to attend the
    two sessions of Spirituality and Ageing these
    past two Fridays. It has been a truly uplifting,
    nourishing, hands on or should I say"hearts on"
    experience. I have gained and been given so much
    and now hopefully I will be able to connect more
    readily with our residents and give something
    back to them.     I am aware that the eight
    hours that we were together was but a fraction of
    the effort and energy that went into making the
    time so worthwhile. When Teruni said "she had
    been thinking of us all"during the week, I am
    sure that was the understatement of the
    month.During the inbetween week I felt incredibly
    uplifted and energised and I am sure the whole
    group was being prayed for, considered and
    energised.I want to say thank you too for all
    the thought and creative talent that went into
    making the space beautiful. Everything was done
    with such excellence and care and it was
    appreciated as were the refreshments and library
    facilities.   We were a mixed group as I'm sure
    every group is, but it was amazing how we were
    blended together from our different backgrounds,
    able to learn from each other and how the quieter
    ones were given confidence to contribute which
    benefited us all.  Again, thank you both so
    much for modelling spirituality and ageing to us
    all so effectively.
  • Two of us from organisation attended the
    Spirituality Course run at St John's recently and
    just wanted to write and thank you for orgnising
    it.  Helen  I found it very enriching both on a
    personal professional level.  I am very keen to
    Have all my staff attend at some stage as it very
    much encompasses our philosophy.

Where to?
  • Preaching to the converted
  • How to maintain spiritual awareness despite busy,
    physically-focused work
  • How to advance knowledge and practice
  • Paying more than lip service to holistic care
    beyond the coal face

  • Staff enjoy working with older people for a range
    of reasons
  • They have a sophisticated understanding of the
    concept of spirituality
  • They appreciate the chance to reflect and talk
    about an otherwise neglected topic

  • They are the front line for meeting the spiritual
    needs in older people - they need to be prepared.
  • Given the opportunity they can draw on their own
    rich inner resources to do this.
  • Being at the workshops has increased my
    understanding I learn something new each time.

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