The St John of God Berwick Hospital Pastoral Services Team in Berwick, Victoria, was awarded the 2020 Best of Care Team Award from Spiritual Care Australia at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting on Monday, 3 August 2020.
Spiritual Care Australia is Australia’s peak body of practitioners in pastoral and spiritual care and chaplaincy and seeks to recognise and promote excellence amongst its members. The Best of Care Awards is the annual opportunity for SCA to honour an individual or a team for their contribution to spiritual care practice.
The award was announced by SCA President, Dianna Muir. She said, ‘In the opinion of the judges, the Pastoral Services Team of the St John of God Berwick Hospital have exemplified the SCA Standards of Practice and the SCA values of respect, integrity, compassion and excellence as they have evolved over the last eighteen months. They have modelled exemplary care for patients and their families as well as hospital staff, which is reflected in the high praise they have received from all these groups.’
The citation from SCA continued as follows:
Since January 2018, in response to expansion of the hospital, the team increased significantly in size, with the addition of new staff members, a music therapist and art therapist and volunteers. The team initiated new services and embedded pastoral care within the new structure.
According to management, the Pastoral Care team was integral to maintaining the strong patient-centred culture during this period of transition, providing a collaborative, cohesive and integrated service that is also flexible and able to respond to new needs, as was evidenced just last week [week commencing 27 July].
In response to the Covid crisis, the hospital was urgently asked to accept 30 elderly residents from a nursing home. On the night of their arrival the pastoral services team rang every family to reassure them that their loved one had arrived safely and to ask for any tips in helping their loved ones to adjust to their unexpected new environment. A pastoral practitioner is now based on that ward.
Education of new caregivers about integrating spiritual care into the holistic care of patients and their families has been a key focus of the team. This is achieved through student nursing orientation education, one-on-one with colleagues, advocacy and presentation of pastoral needs at multi-disciplinary team meetings and ward handover.
Although the hospital remains true to its foundational Catholic values, the pastoral care team models and promotes respect for human diversity in the provision of spiritual care. Engagement is not based on religious affiliation, but on an intentional pastoral model.
During the past two years, the Pastoral Care team have particularly focused on developing holistic and person-centred care to patients entering the palliative and end-of-life care phase of their health journey.
All pastoral practitioners are well-educated and trained and are required to attend minimum standards of professional development and supervision each year. Staff education is ongoing and focussed on meeting new needs as they are identified.
The nomination says, ‘The hospital is enormously proud of the Pastoral Care Team and the way they have transitioned from such a small facility to a large and increasingly complex facility. Their professionalism and compassionate care has seen them recognised and highly valued by managers, caregivers, patients and families.’
At the conclusion of the award presentation, the SCA President said, ‘It is my pleasure today to present this Best of Care Team award to Karen Rolfe, Coordinator of the Pastoral Care Team at St John of God Berwick Hospital, for her team. SCA congratulates you, Karen, and your team, as well as your manager, Rhonda O’Connor, the Director of Mission Integration.’
The AGM was held by Zoom and the physical award will be conveyed to the team as soon as possible.
Questions regarding SCA and the Best of Care award: Harriet Ziegler, Executive Officer, +61 499 444 779
Questions regarding SJOG Berwick Hospital Pastoral Services Team: Rhonda O'Connor, Director of Mission Integration, SJOG Berwick Hospital. (03) 8784 5026 or +61 451 001 304
Photo caption: Members of the St John of God Berwick (Vic) Hospital Pastoral Services Team enjoy their Best of Care Award, being held by coordinator Karen Rolfe.