A new report by researchers at Australian Catholic University confirms the significant benefits of pastoral care to hospital patients and aged care residents.
While those working in this area know intuitively that pastoral care practitioners provide hospital patients and aged care residents with support that enhances their wellbeing, there is surprisingly little research into this important area of care.
The research project sought to better understand the perspectives of people who receive support from pastoral care practitioners.
Released on Tuesday, the findings will have impact for understanding and improving services, recognising and acknowledging the contribution this dedicated group of professionals make to the wellbeing of the community, and demonstrating the benefits of care in order to retain and expand funding for the provision of services.
The report, What are the benefits of Pastoral Care to hospital patients and aged care residents?, adds to the emerging literature on the impact of pastoral care in hospital and aged care settings. A total of 728 people from across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia shared their views on the pastoral care they had received in hospital or aged care settings.
Overwhelmingly, participants indicated that they perceived considerable benefits from engaging with a pastoral care practitioner.
Almost all (99 per cent) of participants reported that that during their meetings with the pastoral practitioner they felt they were treated with dignity and respect, and more than 90 per cent said they felt that they were listened to, were able to talk about what was on their mind, had their situation understood, and had their faith and beliefs valued.
More than three-quarters reported that “often” or “all of the time” after meeting with the practitioner they felt they were able to be honest with themselves about how they were really feeling, they had a positive outlook on their situation, they felt in control of their life, they felt peaceful and they did not feel anxious.
ACU pro vice-chancellor of engagement Professor Sandra Jones said, “The results demonstrate that participants perceive considerable benefits from engaging with a pastoral care practitioner, including aspects of care that are not provided by other services.”
Significant benefits of pastoral care confirmed in new report (Australian Catholic University)