What is Spiritual Care?

The Spiritual Care department provides spiritual support and comfort for the residents, tenants, and staff of St. Ann’s.  This may simply mean offering a compassionate ear, or it may also involve counselling and advice for specific problems.  We aim to recognize and enact the rich spiritual resources within each of us.  Regardless of the form the ministry takes, the Spiritual Care department will offer caring support to all members of the St. Ann’s community.

Many of the residents of St. Ann’s Home will face a health crisis, including death.  Spiritual Care staff and volunteers will be available to offer comfort to the individual as well as the family, supporting them in their fear and grief.  During this difficult time, sensitivity and compassion are requisite for the spiritual wellbeing of all involved.  Providing comfort for the dying is a key ingredient of quality Spiritual Care.

Another key element of our work in Spiritual Care is to assist residents and families in ensuring Advanced Care directives and Serious Illness/Sudden Collapse documents are completed and up to date.  These documents communicate the resident’s wishes to his/her family and those in the medical profession in a critical moment of need.

As part of the Saskatoon Health Region’s policy, the Serious Illness/Sudden Collapse guidelines are of particular importance.  They outline in detail which approach to follow in the event of a medical emergency: only provide medical interventions available at our facility; transfer to hospital; or support natural death.  The guidelines also indicate whether or not the resident wishes 911 and CPR initiated.

In a nutshell, the Spiritual Care department will:

  • welcome new residents to our community, assessing spiritual values, resources, and needs, and crafting an individualized care plan
  • provide ongoing private and confidential support
  • referrals community members to professionals outside our facility if necessary, and/or if the resident is transferred to another health care facility
  • provide active grief support to residents and families, in the death and dying process

“Be gentle with everyone you meet.  They are fighting a great battle.”

These words from St. Ephrem essentially guide us in the St. Ann’s Spiritual Care department.  We strive to honour the image of God in all its dimensions – physical, emotional, and spiritual – in everyone that we encounter.  This is, for us, what it means to continue the healing ministry of Jesus.