Over the course of the past year, St.Amant reviewed its Spiritual Care Services and consulted with other health and social service organizations to look at how they are offering similar services. We also spoke with a number of families and invited staff to offer input and feedback.
The review was influenced by an understanding that each person’s spirituality has three main dimensions(i). Those are the need to:
- Make personal meaning;
- Come to an understanding of self; and
- Appreciate the need and value of connections with others
Spiritual Care Services will now be called Spiritual Health Services. The mandate will not change: to meet the spiritual needs of the people we support. Moving forward, however, a significant part of the Spiritual Health professional’s role will be to empower all staff to enhance the spiritual health of the people we support. We can all contribute to a person’s spiritual health.
We know that loneliness is all too often a reality for the people we support. That is why there will be a special focus on introducing people to organizations and activities in the community that could nourish the spirit and create a sense of belonging. Those activities could include attending a sweat lodge or a church service or practicing yoga.
The review led to a number of recommendations that can be grouped into four key themes: Tradition, Innovation, Inclusion, and Shared Responsibility.
St.Amant recognizes the importance of maintaining and building upon the existing Catholic, Indigenous, and other spiritual services offered to people supported by St.Amant and their support networks. St.Amant reaffirms a commitment to support long-standing and highly valued services, including Mass, prayer groups, and Friends Sharing Faith. St.Amant also reaffirms a commitment to offering Indigenous ceremonies, under the direction of an Elder. Spiritual Health Services will continue to support staff and play a key role in end of life discussions with families.
The review reflects the importance of existing services, and recommends increasing and improving service to people of all faiths and backgrounds. In particular, the review looked at the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and is committed to strengthening and expanding the services available to Indigenous peoples.
St.Amant will adopt the term Spiritual Health because of its emphasis on wellness and a broad understanding of spirituality. There is recognition that spirituality and spiritual health can be expressed and explored through religion and in many other ways. Some of those could include mindfulness or time in nature. St.Amant supports a person-centered view of spiritual health and commits to supporting people as they explore the full spectrum of potential spiritual health opportunities.
A goal for St.Amant and the disability movement is to ensure that all people are included as they wish in their community. Through new or revitalized community connections, we look forward to more opportunities for people supported by St.Amant to experience a sense of belonging. As well, through our words and actions, we want to reinforce the inclusive and welcoming nature of spiritual health service throughout the organization.
Every staff member and volunteer has a responsibility to contribute to the spiritual health of the people they support and to the organization as a whole. The spiritual health professional’s new mandate will include much more education and training for staff. Staff will come to better understand how their work can influence the spiritual health of a person.
We are planning to recruit a minimum of one full-time staff person into Spiritual Health Services. This position will be complemented through increased connections to community faith groups and through skilled and passionate volunteers.
The Review and its recommendations were accepted by the Executive. The new position will be created and posted later this summer. Recommendations will be implemented beginning over the next few months.
If there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact BenAdaman at 204.256.4301 ext. 3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Manitoba Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs. (2012). Health and the human spirit: Shaping the direction of spiritual health care in Manitoba: spiritual health care strategic plan. Retrieved from http://www.gov.mb.ca/healthyliving/mh/docs/health_human_spirit.pdf