Shining a light on spirituality in healthcare

Date: 24/10/2018


Pastoral Care Week (October 21-27) is an international celebration of the provision of spiritual and emotional care.

At Cabrini, we have a team dedicated to helping patients and staff connect with their own spirituality and faith.

This year’s theme Hospitality – Cultivating Time is about taking time out to focus on yourself, whether it is by meditating, taking a walk in nature or listening to music.

Pastoral Practitioner Catherine Carr said the pastoral care service was about enabling patients to express their emotions during a difficult time in hospital and to connect with their personal spiritual dimension.

“In a busy world, pastoral care offers the luxury of time,” Ms Carr said.

“Sometimes just listening and offering an understanding ear can help people on the healing journey.”

“We work with patients and staff to find out where they draw their strength and meaning from, whether it is religious or spiritual.”

“Undergoing treatment can be an emotional time where people question their own mortality and place in the world. We help them to work through those issues.”

People are referred to the program by nurses, doctors, relatives or other religious organisations in the community.

Cabrini has a routine policy to visit anyone over the age of 75 to the hospital who is admitted through the Alan, Ada and Eva Selwyn Emergency Department and any patients who are re-admitted for care after a previous admission or are chronically unwell and receiving ongoing treatment.

Ms Carr said pastoral care was defined as an umbrella term for spirituality in all forms, which helped people connect to something beyond themselves.

“We offer pastoral support to patients as well as staff, particularly nurses who are working with patients with delicate or ongoing health concerns,” she said.

“We have highly trained and experienced staff who offer a specialised service to people in their time of need.”

Ms Carr said pastoral care helped people on a deeper level.

“It is not just about hand-holding and making cups of tea,” she said.

“We have every faith and religion represented to call on when it is needed. Most importantly, our service is available to people of any faith or of no faith.

“I hope Pastoral Care Week provides a raised consciousness of what we do and increases the understanding of the pastoral care service we offer at Cabrini.”