Practice development in aged care nursing of older people: the perspective of ageing and spiritual care

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Abstract

This third paper on older people nursing and spirituality moves beyond the literature reviewed in the two previous papers, exploring directions for the practice and continuing research in this field. Issues of chronic illness challenge nurses working with older people to focus on continuing health promotion and opportunities for spiritual promotion of resilience and transcendence. The changes from monocultural to multicultural societies challenge nurses to know how to provide culturally and faith appropriate care. The extension of palliative care to the needs of those growing older and dying is noted as an important area for developing spiritual care. It is asserted that spiritual assessment forms a basis for the provision of spiritual care for all of these themes. Ethical perspectives of older people nursing must be carefully addressed as frail and vulnerable older people struggle with issues of compromised autonomy. Further research should focus on spirituality as seen through the eyes of older people and examine the interface between nurses and patients, where the relationship becomes the guiding basis for practice. Education in nursing courses and through continuing programmes of education is needed to ensure adequate understanding of spirituality in the nursing role.

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