Development of the Spiritual Care Series


The Spiritual Care Series (SCS) Volunteer Training Course was developed in the wake of a highly significant development in the way Australia cares for older people: the release of 'National Guidelines for Spiritual Care in Aged Care' in 2016.  One of the key messages in the National Guidelines is that spiritual care is everybody's business. The spiritual needs of the older person must be attended to, not only by one person such as a spiritual care specialist, but that everyone across the older person's care team needs to be sensitised to looking after people's spiritual needs.

The future of aged care depends on care providers being able to demonstrate that they have a deep holistic understanding of the older person and are paying attention to the fullness of that person within that context. By paying attention to spiritual care and building that into an organization's mission, the whole staff is being sensitised to have a holistic understanding of the older person, helping to make the older person's care experience a positive one.

With the Australian government's support, Health Television Network (HTN) worked with other organizations to produce the SCS. For over 15 years, HTN has produced high quality evidence-based educational programs, which promote and respond to the physical, mental and spiritual needs of our ageing population. Broadcaster and Aged Care Presenter, Leigh Hatcher is the host and facilitator of the series. Professor John Swinton has been the expert advisor for the project.

2 Leigh Hatcher is one of Australia's most respected and experienced broadcast journalists. He's had a career of 40+ years in radio and television. Leigh has a deep and intimate knowledge of Australian politics, having worked in the Canberra press gallery. He worked at the Seven Network in a range of capacities, including Canberra correspondent, Chief Olympic correspondent and European correspondent, based in London. Leigh was also a senior presenter at Sky News for 13 years, as it led the whole emergence of 'the 24-hour news cycle'. For the last three years he has worked on 'the other side' of media as Director of Public Affairs, and senior consultant for Hammond Care. He has authored 3 books including the Australian best-seller, 'I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just a Little Unwell'.
3 Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care. (Personal chair). Honorary Professor of Nursing, Centre for Advanced Studies in Nursing, University of Aberdeen. Professor John Swinton is a world-renowned expert in dementia and meaningful ageing, and the founder of the University of Aberdeen's Centre for Spirituality, Health And Disability. Professor John Swinton is also a registered nurse for people with learning disabilities and a registered mental health nurse.