Including Nursing Home Administrators, Nurses, Catholic Chaplains, Religious Community Members, home caregivers
One weekend, January-April and a week in May.
Limited It’s a privilege to be called to the spiritual care of the elderly - to provide care for their bodies, their spirit and their soul. The right training can either enhance existing skills in long-term care or lead to becoming a pastoral caregiver.
Providing Geriatric Spiritual Care can help residents come to terms with what has happened and what is happening, and how to cope and heal
from emotional distress. Distress is often hard for them to express (this is especially true for those with memory impairments such
as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia). To understand spirituality and how it applies to our lives while being sensitive to the
ethical concerns of today will help give caregivers a working knowledge of how to provide the best spiritual comfort for our elders.
The Geriatric Spiritual Care (GSC) program consists of 65 classroom hours distributed over 4 weekends and a week of clinical hands-on experience under expert guidance.
Participants will explore the journey they have taken through a personal life review to better understand the spiritual journey of
our elders. This experience will help participants to better understand the spiritual journey of our elders. We need to keep in
mind that their spirituality has grown out of their own individual and unique life experiences. Spiritual activities will be offered
that are appropriate for the elderly in any setting. The most basic activity is that of prayer and its relationship to the needs
and expectations of the elderly. Ritual will also be discussed, with emphasis placed on what is liturgically appropriate. The Magisterium
and the Sacramental Life of the Christian will be explored as they relate to the role and activities of the spiritual caregiver.
While almost all individuals experience some form of suffering during their lives, it is especially true for the elderly. While suffering
is material in nature it also has a spiritual dimension with which the geriatric spiritual caregiver needs to become familiar.
Participants will research this perspective of suffering in both the Old and New Testaments. Here the emphasis will be on the spiritual value of the Paschal Mystery as personified by Christ and theological reflections will be the tool. The impact of loss and separation will be explored, recognizing that grief is a natural process throughout our life cycle. The participant’s ability to deal with death precedes their ability to help individuals deal with loss and bereavement. The presenter will explore skills that can be utilized in dealing with death and dying.
Active listening relates to the role of those engaged in Geriatric Spiritual Care. This module involves three interrelated components;
the dynamics of active listening, the use of and response to silence, and the distinction between symptom and problem. The presentation
will attempt to help the participants explore the technique and significance of active listening. Active listening also involves
the ability to recognize different types of behavior in people with dementia. Observation, discussion, and response mechanisms
will be addressed. The distinction between symptom and problem will be made. This distinction in spiritual care is essential, since
the symptom may be an indication of a existing problem. Signs and symbols will be discussed as a communication tool to elicit response
to their faith tradition. Efforts in communication skills with family and staff will be explored, using role playing to demonstrate
points. The need for referrals and for a team approach will be explored.
We live in a very complex society and confusion tends to rise over what constitutes appropriate ethical behavior. This module contains
three components; practical ethics, comparative religion, and case studies as a source for decision making. In covering practical
ethics, the question “Why is there confusion over ethics?” will be addressed. The presenter will explore the sources of values,
ethics, religious ethics, law, and etiquette. The distinction between ethics and moral theology will be addressed through a basic
presentation of major religions. The emphasis will be of the origins and similarities in the major religions. Case studies on ethical
issues will be reviewed for use in class. The ethical theories and principles will be used as a support system in providing quality
of life. The importance of confidentiality will be stressed. The practices and procedures for ministry will be detailed.
In this session participants will be introduced to the practice of Palliative Care. This approach seeks to provide relief from
the five domains of pain that all persons experience when faced with a debilitating diagnosis: physical, spiritual, emotional,
psychiatric and familial. It allows each resident to receive the appropriate treatment that brings him/her comfort and the
best possible care and can be combined with curative care or with less aggressive care. Palliative Care is not the same as
hospice care or end-of-life care which is reserved for those who are clearly dying. Participants will discuss signs that death
is near and how to give care during the dying process.
Each student will be assigned to a nursing care facility serviced by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. The site coordinator will develop the schedule for each student. They must have 55 hours of clinical time. After completing the 5 modules within the didactic setting, participants will advance to the clinical component of the program.