Day 0: An Overview of the Course

This is a really quick intro to the Spiritual Care Matters course. In the next few minutes, I’ll give you an idea what it’s about and whether it could help you in your own work. If so, I’ll even tell you how to sign up, so you can start learning right away.

So, what’s the course about? Spiritual Care Matters is an online learning course. It’s an introduction to spiritual care, exploring how it is defined, what it means in practice and why it matters.

The course is for staff and volunteers working with older people. That might be in a care home, a health centre or really any setting in which you’re caring for older people. So if you’re a care assistant, a member of health care staff, a home care visitor or anyone with a role in supporting older people, it’s for you.

Let’s think a bit more about what we mean by spiritual care. To begin with, what does spirituality itself mean? for a lot of people – residents, patients, family and staff-  it means supporting religious beliefs and different faiths. Actually, it’s a whole lot more. Have a listen to Maureen O’Neill as she introduces us to some ideas about what spiritual care means. Maureen works for Faith in Older People, the organisation that developed the Spiritual Care Matters course.

Hello, I’m Maureen O’Neill. I’m director of Faith in Older People. We’re a small charity and our concern is to look at the spiritual dimension as we grow older. For us, it’s an integral part of how we carry on, what gives us the motivation to get up in the morning, how we’ve gathered our strength during our life, our experience. It can be of faith, but it can also be a number of other things. Creativity, it could be about music, but particularly, it’s about relationship with other people. We exist because we relate to our family, our friends, and those who care for us. For them to understand our story and what really matters to us, is really important. Being listened to and feeling that people want to listen to us is critical to good spiritual care.

You can’t give someone spiritual care; you can enable it to happen. I think that’s an important factor that we need to take on board.

Maureen’s given us a basic ideas of what spirituality means and what spiritual care involves. Let’s look at what’s involved in this for you as a learner.

First off, the course has been designed for ease of access – that means low tech, no passwords, just get involved. Learners have told us that they love the relaxed approach and how the course was realistic, achievable and flexible. In other words, they could do the course at a time that suited them. Some learners even listened to the podcast on the bus. The course is made up of 5 half hour ‘lessons’ that you get through in a daily email. Each ‘lesson’’s made up of a short Audio Podcast (a bit like this one), a practical task and a few questions to help you reflect on your learning. You can access the course through a laptop, computer, tablet or smart phone, whichever works best for you. But you will need an internet connection to receive the daily emails and to access the course materials.

If you think it might help you, we’d love to have you in. It’s totally free to sign up for – just head to the home page and choose Individual or Group Signup.

All we need is your name and email address. Once we’ve got it, you’ll start getting the daily lessons.

We know that ‘spiritual care is already happening’, but through this course we can improve the spiritual experience of every older person in care. We’ll see you there!