PASCOP eNewsletter •  Summer  •  2015
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Summer 2015

From the Executive Officer

The past few months have been busy for PASCOP with a focus on strategy and advocacy. 

We have launched a three-year strategic plan that will help to guide our growth and membership service program until 2017. 

The plan sets out a number of initiatives, many of which will coAs we head into what appears to be a long, hot summer, it is timely to reflect on what has been achieved for you, our members, as well as what is in store for 2016.
2015 has been a significant year in the ongoing establishment and development of PASCOP.  The end of the financial year saw the end of the initial period of sponsorship by those organisations who undertook to ensure the best possible start-up of PASCOP by providing guaranteed funding for the initial three years of operation.  Many also contributed in a variety of other ways of support and in-kind contribution.  I extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all of this invaluable assistance to establish the vital work of PASCOP.
The end of the financial sponsorship has also seen a successful transition from sponsorship to membership fees as the main income source for PASCOP. A strategic membership recruitment plan has been implemented and has seen steady increase in new members in addition to the original sponsors converting to general membership.
New initiatives

A number of new initiatives and resources were introduced in the 2014-15 year including a successful commencement of the annual PASCOP Quality in Pastoral & Spiritual Practice Awards, a national award recognising innovation and excellence in the delivery of pastoral and spiritual care for older people from within the PASCOP membership.  At a ceremony in Sydney in August I was delighted to present the winning award to Churches of Christ (QLD) and the finalist award to Baptcare (Vic). 
The work of PASCOP has also been enhanced greatly by the addition of new staff and support services to develop and enhance PASCOPs services and profile. Alison Powell and Karen Hooper have been appointed to the staff positions of Project Officer – Resources and Office Administrator respectively and MediaWise have been appointed as PASCOP’s media and communications service providers.  Along with the existing services provided by Solution Resolution (IT), Jillian Williams (Financial) and RQ Design (design and branding) the complete team is now making a significant difference to the effectiveness and efficiency of  PASCOP.
A new enhanced website is nearing completion which will not only provide ease of navigation but will provide a significant increase in current news, resources and other services.  This combined with a social media presence and more regular and enhanced newsletters will provide an increased profile for PASCOP as well as added value to our members.
And of course the commencement of the long-awaited National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care Project has not only been an exciting time for PASCOP and its project partners and team but has resulted in an extraordinary engagement with the aged care sector right across Australia. (more details below).
This and many other new initiatives set the stage for 2016 to be the most exciting and progressive year yet in the evolution and vital work of PASCOP.

Annual General Meeting

The 2015 PASCOP AGM was held recently in Canberra. The day saw the  re-appointment of Ross Low and Ilsa Hampton to the PASCOP Board and the appointment of new Board members Mark Butler and Raad Richards.  The Board and the office bearers for the next twelve months are: Ross Low (chair), Bryan Mason (deputy-chair), Susan Sullivan (secretary), John Ireland (treasurer.),  Ilsa Hampton, Raad Richards, Mark Butler, Craig Hamer, and CAPS delegate  Bruce Stevens.

Pastoral Care Week

It was terrific to see so many of our members celebrate Pastoral Care Week in the last week of October. The week focuses the work of all those who provide spiritual support to others, regardless of spiritual, religious or cultural background.
This year’s theme, Spiritual Care Together, emphasised the holistic care of the individual and the need to work collaboratively across disciplines to meet the biological, psychological, social and spiritual needs of those for whom we provide care.

Have your say

Victorians are being urged to have their say about the services they want to support them at the end of their and their loved ones’ lives. A new Discussion Paper – Greater Say for Victorians: Improving End of Life Care – has been released by the Victorian Government, and consultation will be undertaken in coming months with health professionals, carers, families and members of the community to develop a new state-wide end of life care framework. The paper is available at, or a hard copy can be requested by calling 03 9096 1337. Submissions can be received until Friday 18 December 2015.


Executive Officer Dave Petty has been talking about pastoral and spiritual care, and the care of the carers around the networks over the past few weeks.
He spoke at the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Health Ethics about practical spiritual care for carers, emphasising the need for aged care staff working with older people to respect their role.
“Carers need to be heard and respected as they are often best placed to recognise the needs and language of the older person, especially for those who are living with dementia,” Dave Petty said.
“At the same time, some older people do not want to share spiritual matters with family and carers and we need to respect that wish, and encourage the older person to talk about spirituality with whomever they feel comfortable.”
Dave Petty also spoke at the Second National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference alongside Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Julie McCrossin and Steve Teulan, ED, UnitingCare NSW.ACT (a PASCOP member) and at the Australian Association of Gerontology Conference about the National Spiritual Care Guidelines project.
“The guideline developments are resonating with the sector, which is keen to learn how the guidelines can be used to implement quality spiritual care across the whole organisation to the benefit of each individual in their care and the organisation as a whole.  
Elizabeth Pringle, who works with PASCOP on the National Spiritual Care Guidelines in Aged Care project, led a workshop at the Active Ageing Conference exploring options for providing spiritual care within the context of the wellness and restorative care philosophies that now underpin community care.


PASCOP is now on Twitter and tweeting. Do follow us on @pa_scop


  • According to Australia Bureau of Statistics data from the 2011 Census, same-sex couple partners were most likely to report having no religion (48%), followed by Christianity (40%).
  • This contrasted with opposite sex couples, for whom Christianity was the leading affiliation (67%) followed by having no religion (21%).
  • According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Kinsey Institute, the number of older LGBTI Australians – who account for up to eight per cent of older adults aged 65 years and over – is expected to rise in line with national trends to approximately 500,000 people by the year 2051.
  • Many LGBTI people have experienced discrimination and rejection from traditional faith-based communities.
  • The 75-page working document known as Instrumentum Laboris says the Catholic Church must be less judgemental of homosexuals, and while still opposing gay marriage, should welcome children of gay couples into the faith with equal dignity.
  • A change of ethos or attitude to happen most effectively and lastingly within an organisation needs to be supported by all levels of management – whether it is spiritual care or whatever.
  • The National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care, now in development, will be inclusive and explicitly recognise diversity as a key principle.


PASCOP member UnitingCare Ageing NSW.ACT is an Australian leader in its work with LGBTI seniors.

It was recognised this year as one of Australia’s top 20 employers for LGBTI people by ACON, New South Wales' leading HIV and LGBTI health organisation. It won the Pride in Diversity Workplace Inclusion Award in 2013 and was recognised by the Commonwealth Government last year by being selected as a provider of LGBTI-specific home care packages.

Steve Teulan, Executive Director, UnitingCare Ageing, recently told a conference in Melbourne that it was important to remember that the average age of people receiving aged care is around 85 years.

According to Mr Teulan, this means members of LGBTI communities seeking aged care today may have spent the first two thirds of their lives subject to legalised discrimination, as well as other forms of discrimination and abuse throughout their lives.

“We work to enable people to be who they truly are without judgement, and seek to celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of all people. We support and foster individuality and diversity throughout our services, and we work to address the needs, expectations and current service shortfalls experienced by LGBTI communities when accessing care.

As a service group of UnitingCare NSW.ACT, UnitingCare Ageing is responsible for the Uniting Church’s ministry for older people, particularly those who are disadvantaged, vulnerable and isolated..

Baptcare Victoria and LGBTI seniors

Aged care and LGBTI seniors

Baptcare Victoria has found that LGBTI seniors rarely receive safe, inclusive, person-centred care within their community.
A 2015 report has identified a range of issues that need to be addressed if LGBTI seniors are to access their right to care. Some relate to the impact of historical discrimination and trauma for seniors who grew up in an age where their sexuality and gender identity was labeled a mental illness, immoral, or even treated as a criminal offence by the law.

Winner and finalist of Quality Awards 

Churches of Christ is the inaugural winner of the 2015 PASCOP Annual Quality in Pastoral and Spiritual and Practice Awards.

The organisation, which cares for 1,800 aged care residents in Queensland and Victoria, won the award for its pilot dementia church service initiative.

Since 2014, around 42 per cent of residents living with dementia have attended weekly church services that are run from Churches of Christ’s aged care facilities in south east Queensland. There are plans to expand it to the organisation’s 15 other dementia specific units.

PASCOP congratulates Churches of Christ and Aged Care Chaplain, Wayne Crouch for introducing the pilot.

“The introduction of a church service has made a positive, tangible difference not only to the residents but also to the staff and volunteers,” Mr Petty said.

 “The program highlights pastoral and spiritual care in practice for residents who are often seen as difficult to connect with.”

Baptcare in Victoria is finalist

Baptcare in Victoria was finalist in the annual awards for its Community Aged Care Chaplains program. The program has 45 pastoral visitors spending time with older people in their own homes.

The program reaches around 100 people a month, and has now been replicated by BaptistCare in New South Wales, ACT and Western Australia.

David Petty said the program had shown a marked difference for clients who were isolated, housebound, and on community aged care packages.

Before the program started, only 20 clients in each region of Baptcare Victoria had access to pastoral care through its Chaplains.

The awards were announced on 26 August in Sydney at the Elizabeth MacKinlay Public Lecture. 

Caption: L to R: David Petty, CEO of PASCOP, Ilsa Hampton,  Manager Pastoral Care & Mission Development Baptcare, Peter McRoberts- Aged Care Chaplaincy Team Leader, Churches of Christ Queenslanld and Wayne Crouch, Aged Care Chaplain who developed and implemented the Churches of Christ's dementia program. 


A literature search undertaken as part of the development of the National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care has revealed the need for consistent definitions and guidelines, according to Elizabeth Pringle.

“A consistent definition is vital as there is limited understanding about what spiritual care is and what it is not,” she said.
She said this was underscored by the fact that existing guidelines that included spiritual care were very simplistic in their guidance.
“Existing spiritual care guidelines are also general, and there are no existing guidelines specifically addressed to aged care, Ms Pringle said.
Instead, the guidelines included broad statements without linking to consensus, expert opinion or evidence.”
Other findings included access to spiritual care can improve mental health, especially conditions due to stressful life experiences, the importance of helping everyone working with older people understand that spiritual care is everybody’s job, all aged care organisations need access to expert spiritual care, and that spiritual care should be embedded into care plans.
Survey results 
Over 700 people from across Australia responded to the survey to gather views about what should be included in the national guidelines.
Survey results have helped gain a real understanding of the views and perceptions of how spiritual care can most effectively be provided to older people living in residential aged care or, receiving care and support at home.
The results mirror much of what the literature search revealed, including the need for a whole of organisation commitment to spiritual care, spiritual indicators are as important as quality of care measures (falls, infections, and incidents) and that guidelines should be relevant across the organisation.
PASCOP is working in conjunction with Spiritual Health Victoria and the National Ageing Research Institute on this project that recognises the World Health Organisation’s view that spirituality is inextricably linked to quality of life.  

 Elizabeth Pringle, project manager, said
 initial discussions with stakeholders’ engagement was encouraging with strong interest from a range of peak organisations. 

“Their advice is that the guidelines have to be simple to use and relevant for residential and home care contexts, with links to person-centred care and consumer-directed care philosophies,” said Ms Pringle.
Focus groups and interviews will be conducted in July and August together with an industry-wide survey and an ongoing literature review are the next steps in the process.
“Based on the feedback, the project advisory group will meet to discuss the results and provide advice for a preliminary draft which will be refined by
 technical specialists ahead of a pilot program,” said Ms Pringle.
Thai sanctuary inspired by Resthaven SA 
An extraordinary partnership between PASCOP member Resthaven, South Australia and a Thai women’s sanctuary has blossomed because of a shared common interest: caring for older people.

Thai businessman Arnop Chirakiti has poured his wealth into creating Baan Sudthavas (BSV) Thailand which is a multi-purpose facility for destitute women, including those suffering dementia.

While on holidays in South Australia, Chirakiti sought advice from Richard Hearn, CEO of Resthaven.

The partnership has continued through staff exchanges, advice and information about care for older people. Full details are available here.
New appointments 
Congratulations to Sonya Smart, CEO of Catholic Homes and a PASCOP member, for being re-elected to the board of Aged and Community Services WA.
Congratulations, also, to the Reverend Danny Mihailovic, who has been appointed to Prescare (Queensland) as Director of Chaplaincy.

New dementia friendly garden blossoms
The laughter garden at IRT Sarah Claydon in Milton, NSW, was opened recently, creating a much-needed environment for residents with dementia to enjoy.
The garden was designed by IRT, a PASCOP member, in collaboration with the Dementia Training Study Centre at the University of Wollongong.
The gardens includes colourful murals which encourages the residents to go outside and engage in daily backyard activities such as mowing, hanging out the washing, and watering the garden.


Each newsletter we will put the spotlight on a different PASCOP member. 
Each newsletter we will put the spotlight on a different PASCOP member. We feature Bethanie this time, with thanks to Chris How, Chief Executive Officer. 

Why did Bethanie join PASCOP?
Bethanie saw the need for a national body that was wholly concerned about the Spiritual and Pastoral Care needs of Seniors.
How important is spiritual and pastoral care to and for older people?
Bethanie sees that a person is more than a Physical being, there is the emotional, social, mental and spiritual aspect of a person as well. When caring for the ‘Whole Person’ as Bethanie strives to do caring for one’s Spiritual and Pastoral Care needs is vitally important, if you leave these out there is something lacking in the complete care of an individual.
Do older people's needs for pastoral and spiritual care differ to younger, middled-aged people? If so, why?
In our experience people in their twilight years generally think about their purpose and meaning in life, what they have accomplished or not and what is important to them, they have done the career building, family raising and home making and it is time to reflect what is it all about and what is it all worth. 
Whether there is a sense of an individual’s own mortality or whether it is the pressures of younger life having been lifted the Pastoral and Spiritual Care of seniors is more prevalent and more accepted than those in the younger age brackets.
Seniors also deal with a unique set of life experiences, desires and expectations that have been molded through their life and the culture of the time.  With life, expectations and culture changing around them and with these changes often being difficult to adjust to, there is significant need for pastoral and spiritual care in this age group.
How does Bethanie embrace its pastoral and spiritual care program across its sites and within its services?
Bethanie’s mission is ‘to demonstrate the love of God in the provision of high quality care, accommodation, and community to the over 55s.’ This means that we strive to care for the whole person and in doing so, we ensure that the pastoral and spiritual care needs are met of people across the organisation from our clients/residents and their families to the staff. The Pastoral and Spiritual Care Program across all aspects of Bethanie is vitally important and is introduced from day one for staff and residents alike.
What is Bethanie's spiritual and pastoral care program?

Bethanie is dedicated to providing a quality Spiritual and Pastoral Care program through our Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care team.  This team is dedicated to ensuring that the Spiritual and Pastoral Care needs of people in our care are met.  Through services, one on one support, Creative therapies, culturally relevant events, group work be it Bible study, men’s group or discussion group, special events and much more. 
How important is PASCOP in promoting the need for spiritual and pastoral care at a national policy level?
With the World Health Organisation recognizing the importance of Spiritual and Pastoral Care in the Holistic Care of people, Organisations such as PASCOP have a vital role to ensure that Spiritual and Pastoral Care is on the National Agenda and is provided across all aspects of the Aged Care Sector.
In three words, what is the role that PASCOP can play?
Resource, Advocate, Empower.


Alison joined PASCOP in July 2015 as Project Officer - Resources. She is responsible for gathering and developing resources that will benefit members in their work. She is also collecting general resources that anyone visiting the PASCOP website and who is interested in spiritual care for older people may wish to download. She can be contacted by email: to set up a time.
What were you doing before?

I have worked in pastoral and spiritual care for the past 25 years, firstly as a school chaplain in Western Australia before moving into hospital pastoral care working at the Women’s Hospitals in Perth and Melbourne. Since February 2015 I have worked for Spiritual Health Victoria firstly as Project Officer and now Development Officer.
Why is the role important?

Many of the people around Australia delivering pastoral and spiritual care to older people often don't have the time or resources to find and access information. This role aims to develop resources and facilitate easier access to resources and tools that are specific to pastoral and spiritual care of older people. There is a growing interest in spiritual care and ageing not only in the aged care sector but also among the public.
What can you do for members?

I want to build relationships with members so that relevant information and resources can be mutually shared.  I plan to talk to all members either face-to-face or by phone to explore ideas and needs. I am also on the look out for resources that members may have created themselves that could be shared or developed for use by others working in the area.
Why is education about pastoral and spiritual care important? 

Education is vital because spiritual and pastoral care delivery is not well understood in many areas of the sector and is often either not offered at all or if it is, is something often that is forgotten and appropriate referrals are not being made.  There is also a need to educate all people who work with older people to understand the part that everyone can play in the spiritual care of a person.
An increase in the understanding of the importance and significance of access to spiritual care both assists in delivering a more holistic and compassionate care to older people.
Educating older people and their families about spiritual care can also increase a sense of wellbeing and meaning and purpose for an older person and assists family members to be aware and sensitive to this part of their significant older person. 
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