Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Response to COVID-19
An Australian Case Study – The McKellar Centre
Keywords:aged care, chaplaincy, COVID-19, pastoral care, religion, spiritual care
This article will consider a practitioner’s experience of the impact of COVID-19 on spiritual care within aged care at the McKellar Centre, Barwon Health, Victoria, Australia. Using Sulmasy’s (2002) paradigm, the provision of holistic care will be considered in terms of the physical, psychological, social and spiritual service variations that were necessary in order to continue to provide for the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable in society – namely those in aged care. The WHO Spiritual Care Intervention codings (WHO, 2017) will be utilized to specifically explore the provision of spiritual care to assist the elderly requesting or needing religious/pastoral intervention. COVID-19 has radically shaped the environment of the McKellar Centre, however, the needs of elderly aged care residents must continue to be met, and this paper seeks to document how that process has been resolved in light of COVID-19. As pandemics are likely to reoccur, future issues for providing spiritual care from a distance, for the benefit of clients, their families, chaplains and health care organizations, will be noted. It must be acknowledged however, that the pandemic impact within Australia (and indeed much of the Oceania region) has been considerably less to that experienced by other regions of the world. Nevertheless, the preparatory and supportive response of spiritual care undertaken at the McKellar Centre speaks to a local response to an international crisis.
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