Lifestyle coordinators contribute to the social and emotional life of residents. They provide support for individual residents and a general activities program for the facility. They may be responsible for collecting the social history of new residents.
Lifestyle coordinators may also coordinate and promote cultural and religious celebrations within the facility. Anzac Day, Christmas festivities and other events reflecting the cultural diversity of residents maybe be organised by the lifestyle team. Sometimes the lifestyle coordinator organises memorial services or other remembrances of residents who have died.
The lifestyle coordinator will work closely with facility chaplains or pastoral care workers to ensure the cultural and spiritual needs of residents are valued and supported. If there is no formal chaplaincy service, the lifestyle coordinator may organise pastoral care visits.
When a resident dies, other residents may be sad, fear that they will be next, become angry or withdrawn. The lifestyle coordinator can be important in recognising their sadness or anxiety. By listening to their concerns they can help them to feel comfortable again.
This role requires good communication skills and the ability to discuss grief and loss. The communication skills taught in the Certificate IV in Leisure and Lifestyle need to be reinforced by reflection on practice and further study. There are free online education programs available.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council has developed A national Code of Conduct for healthcare workers. The code will apply to anyone who provides health care, including complementary and alternative health practitioners. It is expected to be implemented in late 2016.
A Code has already been implemented in NSW, SA and Queensland and is under consideration in other states and territories. A national register of persons found to be in breach of the National Code will be created.
Be mindful of your own emotional needs and to take care that you do not become overburdened with the grief of others or ignore your own sadness when residents you have been close to die.