Pastoral Care

'The principles of Palliative Care are framed around holistic care and the interdependent physical, social, emotional, cultural and spiritual aspects of care ' from the Palliative Care Australia website. [1]

Pastoral care is the care and support of the inner person. It is not necessarily about formal religion. Pastoral care respects and supports a person’s particular belief systems and practices. It is holistic and resident centred.

The provision of pastoral care services in RAC depends on the facility.  Some services employ chaplains or pastoral care workers and some do not.

People with formal training in pastoral care have skills that enable them to discuss religious matters and provide support to all residents with spiritual and emotional needs. Pastoral care workers may use empathy, listening, reminiscence, or simply being with residents to become engaged and assist them to live well.

Pastoral care initiatives

Spiritual Care Victoria has developed an education package for RACF’s to increase the skills of all aged care staff in providing spiritual care. This program educates lifestyle coordinators to become spiritual champions in their workplaces.

Meaningful ageing Australia is a national organisation that aims to promote the spiritual and pastoral care of older Australians. They are currently working with Spiritual Health Victoria (SHV) and the National Ageing Research Institute to develop National Guidelines for Spiritual Care for Aged Care.

  1. Palliative Care Australia (PCA). Palliative and end-of-life care glossary of terms. Edition 1 - 2008 [Internet]. Canberra: PCA; 2008 [cited 2012 Oct 09].

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Last updated 23 January 2017