Study examines impact of pastoral care

The study is examining pastoral care for aged care patients and residents (Bigstock)

A ground-breaking study is under way into the benefits of pastoral care for aged care residents and hospital patients in Victoria. Source: Australian Ageing Agenda.

More than 500 responses from aged care residents and hospital patients who receive aged care from seven large organisations in Victoria have been received so far in the study by researchers from Australian Catholic University’s Pastoral Care Research Collaboration (PCRC).

The PCRC have partnered with Villa Maria Catholic Homes, Mercy Health, Southern Cross Care, Baptcare, Cabrini Health, St John of God and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne for the project.

While pastoral care practitioners are employed throughout aged care and hospital settings, evidence on the impact of their services is limited, according to the PCRC.

This study aims to address this knowledge gap through an anonymous survey given to aged care residents and hospital patients who received aged care across 40 sites.

The research will provide a deeper understanding of the impact of pastoral care, said Dr Vivian Romero, senior research officer at ACU.

“Pastoral care offers a supportive and comforting presence to identify and accommodate a person’s spiritual needs,” Dr Romero told Australian Ageing Agenda.

She said the research examines:

  • the perceived quality of pastoral care received
  • the perceived benefits of pastoral care received
  • whether and how perceived quality and benefits of pastoral care differ between recipients based on characteristics such as religion, age and gender.

“Understanding these outcomes and experiences is important for improving current practices as well as ensuring that pastoral services are responsive to the needs of hospital patients and aged care residents,” Dr Romero said.

On the benefits of pastoral care, one of the aged care residents’ surveyed said:

“She listened to me even though she had probably heard of all my and cares many times. I feel she encourages me always. She is vitally necessary in my life. She puts so much effort and time into our spiritual needs.”

The peak body for Catholic aged care and health services Catholic Health Australia is a partner in the research. 


Gaining a deeper understanding of pastoral care impact (Australian Ageing Agenda)

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